No need for environmental study

2015-08-04 06:01
The rezoning of the Somerset precinct to accommodate a proposed development no longer requires an environmental impact assessment following a change to legislation.

nicole mccain

The rezoning of the Somerset precinct to accommodate a proposed development no longer requires an environmental impact assessment following a change to legislation. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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A change in environmental legislation means the proposed rezoning of the Somerset precinct no longer requires an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

This also removes the need for public participation linked to the EIA, according to a statement by the company handling the application.

The rezoning is part of the provincial government’s plan to redevelop the area.

The Helen Bowden Nurses Home site is the first of four parcels of land in the Somerset precinct to be released for development (“Making space for progress”, People’s Post, 3 April 2014). The empty home on this site, next to Fort Wynyard and the Green Point common, is currently zoned as public open space. It will be demolished to make way for a 14-storey development which will include retail, office and residential space.

Land rights have already been secured for the property, including the title and subdivision. A rezoning application is expected to be submitted this month.

A new set of EIA assessment regulations came into effect in December last year.

However, as there are historically significant buildings on the site, heritage approval is still underway. A heritage impact assessment is currently being done.

About 35 buildings have been earmarked for demolition during the development of the Somerset precinct. Only five of the buildings which have been proposed for demolition have a heritage grading of 3B or 3C (“Wrecking ball to Somerset”, 16 June).

Increased heritage grading was suggested for a number of the properties on the site in a recent heritage impact assessment report and demolition was supported for various structures considered to have little heritage value.

There will be an opportunity for public participation for selected bodies during the review of the impact assessment report at a meeting at Heritage Western Cape.

The development framework will be finalised after a decision is made by Heritage Western Cape and the rezoning application will then be submitted to the City of Cape Town.

This will be followed by a public participation process and an official report will be submitted to the City for approval. This should take six to 18 months

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