Ladies Mile land: have your say

KAREN WATKINS

Residents have until Tuesday July 28 to comment on plans to build a Shoprite Checkers mall on a section of the Ladies Mile waste drop-off site (“Plans for drop-off revealed”, Bulletin April 14).

Located to the west of the M3, erven 13707 and 13708 form 23 percent of the overall site bounded by Kendal and Spaanschemat River roads and Ladies Mile. The land was awarded to the Hadjie Abdullah Solomon Family Trust in restitution for the farm they had owned since 1902. The family were removed under the Group Areas Act.

Meanwhile, Constantia Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (CRRA) is running an opinion poll on Facebook. Residents have complained that the development will cause traffic congestion, that Shoprite is not upmarket and does not fit the profile of Constantia and that another shopping centre is not needed in the area. Others say they want to see development in keeping with the rural feel of the area, such as a school or stables.

CRRA held a meeting with the trust on Tuesday July 12 to discuss matters related to the development. They would not allow the Bulletin to attend.

In August 2015, Rashaad Solomon, spokesperson for the trust, told the Bulletin about their plans to develop the land and build a supermarket, townhouses and apartments (“Bitter sweet memories of Constantia”, Bulletin October 29, 2015).

On Wednesday morning, July 13, Mr Solomon said the meeting had been very positive with concerns raised on Facebook discussed as well as what will happen to the remainder of the property, which belongs to a second family trust, the Hadji Ismail Solomon Family Trust.

He said the first phase is for Shoprite Checkers Property Division to build an upmarket mall with modern farm/homestead style architecture from a mix of facebrick, plaster/paint and steel/glass with a total height of 10m above the M3 freeway.

The property will have 426 parking bays and plans include a traffic circle at the Ladies Mile and Spaanschemat River Road intersection. Mr Solomon said parking includes bays for a future MyCiTi stop.

Mr Solomon said the two trusts are working together and the second phase, on the remainder of the 6.4 hectare property, is to create “a village with open spaces in fitting with Constantia’s rural atmosphere. It will be a tranquil garden”.

“From a farm producing flowers, vegetables and fruit for export, to a dump to a mall, the land is a ruined wasteland, and there is nothing that can be done with it other than develop it,” said Mr Solomon.

He said rezoning of the 14 562m2 property, where the shopping mall will be located, from utility to general business has taken place and the only thing left is for the public participation process to take place.

He said the family hope that the income they will derive will allow them to build homes on other reclaimed property on land which once formed part of the original Sillery Farm.

Mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, Johan van der Merwe, confirmed a land-use application for a shopping centre on erven 13707 and 13708 was being processed and the closing date for objections/comments is July 28 and that the Municipal Planning Tribunal would only make adecision once they had been received. Mr Van Der Merwe said the property would be monitored.

Mayoral committee member for human settlements, Benedicta van Minnen, said another parcel of land, erf 4724, was still being transferred into the names of the land claimants.