Shopping complex appeal ‘too late’

2018-06-15 16:47
The plot of residences opposite the OK Mart will be cleared to make way for a shopping complex development, if the developer’s appeal is successful.

The plot of residences opposite the OK Mart will be cleared to make way for a shopping complex development, if the developer’s appeal is successful. (Google Maps)

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A shopping complex development on College Road, which has outraged the community, may be dismissed once again because its developers lodged an appeal to Msunduzi a day too late.

An application for the development, by Vijen Singh Group Holdings, for the multi-storey shopping complex with a petrol station was dismissed by the municipality in March on the grounds that the development would increase traffic on already busy surrounding roads.

The City also did not feel the site was suitable for a filling station, and felt the company’s feasibility study was insufficient. Vijen Singh Group and its consultant, Peter Jewell Consulting Services, then sought to appeal the decision.

The development has attracted opposition from the surrounding community, including Maritzburg College and Alexandra High School.

At an appeal advisory meeting on Thursday, advocate AJ Rall, acting on behalf of Maritzburg College, argued that the company lodged the appeal outside the window given for appealing the decision.

Rall said there was an understanding between both the applicants and those in opposition that the applicants had received notice of the City’s decision to dismiss the project on March 15.

According to the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (Spluma), the applicant would be given 21 days to appeal, which would have made the deadline April 5. The application was lodged on April 6. Although the City’s own bylaws allow 30 days for appeals, both parties had agreed that they would follow the Spluma regulation, Rall said.

In response to this, Peter Jewell, the consultant, told the panel he had only accessed the e-mail that had the notice of the City’s dismissal on March 16.

He agreed, however, that the cut off date could have been April 5.

The advisory panel will make a recommendation to the Msunduzi Executive Committee, and the panel noted that the appeal could be dismissed if it accepted Rall’s arguments.

The development, which would see four vacant residential sites cleared to make space for it, has been seen as controversial by the community. A petition against it, attached to the agenda of an appeal advisory committee meeting on June 1, had 101 signatures.

The community’s concerns are surrounding severe traffic congestion, an increase in noise and possible increases in pollution.

Schools complained that it could “compromise the safety” of pupils who walk to and from school past the development. There are also concerns it could throttle other businesses in the area.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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