Housing plan discussed at tribunal meeting

Councillor Carol Bew, a City official and Louise Seaward, director of Sibane Planning and Development.

The Municipal Planning Tribunal is in favour of a middle-income housing development in Diep River but the conditions are yet to be decided.

Tribunal chairman David Daniels says despite the 125 objectors, the development cannot be refused.

“It is 100% appropriate. However, I commend residents for applying thought to their objections, as opposed to the many ‘cut and paste’ objections we see,” he said at the tribunal’s meeting at the Alphen Centre on Tuesday.

In October 2017, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) applied to rezone land at Diep River railway station to allow four blocks of flats – a total of 197 units, of which 59 (later amended to 30) would be low cost – and a small commercial hub(“Upset over proposed housing development,” Bulletin, February 8 2018).

Portion 1 of the property is on the east side of the railway line, bordered by Massinger Road and Avondale Terrace.

Portions 2 and 3 are north of De Waal Road. Portion 4 to the south of De Waal Road faces onto the railway station and its parking area, next to two double-storey blocks of flats.

Portions 2, 3 and 4 are within two blocks from the Main Road with 2 and 3 facing onto the railway on the east side and onto the derelict Central Primary School.

There are 13 houses marked for demolition, of which 12 are occupied.

Sean Tyler, who spoke on behalf of the objectors, of which about 30 attended the meeting, asked that Prasa interact with the tenants of those houses.

Among them are retired Metrorail employees who have lived there for 30 years.

The application states that, “The Railway Housing date from the 1960s through to the 1970s and none have been identified as having heritage significance.”

In her presentation, Louise Seaward, director of Sibane Planning and Development, said the tenants had standard leases and had not been given notice because of the long process of the application.

Ms Seaward said regulations allowed for a building of 24m but they had designed 12m, three- to four-storey buildings with 73 parking bays.

Tribunal member Cedric Daniels said the spatial development design was well put together and aligned to the national rail authority’s plan to use superfluous land not used for rail needs.

Mr Tyler also asked that the original traffic impact assessment, done in April 2017, be scrapped and redone.

Ward councillor, Carol Bew said she was against the development, mostly because it would increase traffic congestion and that the City’s transport department had not supported the application.

The final buildings might not be as pretty as seen in the graphics when covered with satellite dishes, she warned.

Ms Seaward said 30% of the flats would be low-cost rental units for people earning up to R18 000 a month.

Jarred Rossouw, of housing activist group Ndifuna Ukwazi, said the development next to a transport hub was just the sort Cape Town needed.

“We ask that the low-income units be held in perpetuity and that the rental is increased alongside the consumer price index.”

Mayco member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said the tribunal’s decision could be appealed.

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