RC LET UNDERWOOD
Geoff Underwood, director, Planning Partners
The article “Retirement Village plans overturned”, Constantiaberg Bulletin, June 2, contained a number of incorrect statements.
Your reporter clearly does not understand the statutory process that is currently under way and as a result the public has been misinformed.
Heritage Western Cape has issued an “Interim Comment” on a heritage impact assessment application submitted in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act.
This is not a decision and the project has not been turned down as reported in your newspaper.
For the record, the comment by Heritage Western Cape must be submitted to the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, together with all other information relating to the environmental assessment, and it is the provincial department that makes the decision.
The environmental assessment has not been completed and further work is ongoing, including another public open house planned for next month (July).
The environmental assessment, known as a basic assessment, will be submitted to the provincial authority in August and a decision on the environmental application, including heritage, is expected towards the end of the year. In parallel with this process there is a town planning application to consolidate and rezone the property. This has not yet been submitted to the municipality but will be submitted in the next few months.
Your reporter made a number of other errors in the article. She refers to various comments made by individuals at the meeting of Heritage Western Cape as forming part of a decision. I have a copy of the official Interim Comment and these individuals comments are not contained in the official comment. Your reporter also incorrectly refers to a retirement estate of 60 dwelling units while only 40 dwellings are proposed.
I invite your reporter to contact me before future articles are written so that I can assist her with correct facts. As the town planning consultant responsible for this project, I know that Mount Prospect has been through a rigorous planning and design process that responds to the many heritage, environmental and planning issues pertaining to this site.
The design is sensitive and appropriate, while addressing the needs of future residents who wish to retire here.
It is noteworthy that the developer, Pete Jordan, has been inundated with enquiries from Constantia residents who want to put their names down for a property, and this is an indication of the very strong need for suitable retirement facilities in the valley.