Penzance Estate in Hout Bay is one of four areas that recently got the thumbs up from the City of Cape Town as special ratings areas (SRAs).They received approval at a council meeting last Wednesday.Cape Town now has 39 established SRAs.Property owners in Penzance Estate, Northpine, Marconi Beam and Beaconvale identified the need to take ownership of their area and help the municipality in ensuring well-maintained and sustainable local environments that are conducive to vibrant and caring communities.The City’s requirements for the application process for these SRAs included an urban management survey which was carried out in all four areas. Based on the results of these surveys, it was clear that these areas are well-developed with good infrastructure, but are showing signs of urban decay and require intervention.These SRAs are clearly defined by geographical areas where the property owners will contribute additional rates to fund further services. This will mostly include additional public safety measures, cleaning services, maintenance of infrastructure, upgrading of the environment, and social services. Communal responsibility“Once these SRAs are operational, the individual property owners will enjoy the collective benefits of an enhancement of their areas, along with a shared sense of communal pride, safety and social responsibility. In the end, these all translate into a tangible boost in property values and capital investments. To me, this illustrates the true value of a partnership and joint service delivery initiative, as well as the benefits of focused attention,” says Johan van der Merwe, Mayco member for finance.“The Northpine City Improvement District application was truly motivating as it depicts true active citizenship, where residential property owners from a previously disadvantaged residential area identified the need to take ownership of their local neighbourhood and assist the City. “The Northpine steering committee was very active and diligent in the application process and received overwhelming support from the community. Residents were most concerned about public safety, the state of the public areas, and the general beautification of their neighbourhood as a whole and as a City we look forward to addressing these needs and making progress possible together,” says Van der Merwe.Marconi Beam in Montague Gardens is one of Cape Town’s most modern and well planned industrial areas, with a mix of high-grade industrial property and commercial and retail space. The establishment of this area as an SRA is the preferred way to enhance the strategic importance of Montague Gardens, which is located close to transport routes and has the potential to attract and keep investment as well as provide employment to the local and surrounding residential areas. Montague Gardens is also the gateway to the rapid urban and economic growth of the West Coast, he says.The Beaconvale Improvement District is an important SRA for the cental region of the City as it will discourage businesses from closing or migrating to other areas. There is a desire in Beaconvale to establish and maintain a safe, clean and well managed industrial area which will attract new investment – benefits which the established improvement districts in nearby areas such as Elsies River, Epping Industria, Parow Industria and the Voortrekker Road Corridor are already experiencing.