A retirement village is proposed for the four-hectare Herzlia Constantia School campus in Old Kendal Road.
In 2020, there was a proposal to shut down Herzlia Constantia – which accommodated a primary school and the Herzlia Kerem Pre-Primary – by the end of the year citing declining pupil numbers and poor economic conditions.
Andries van Renssen, executive director of United Herzlia Schools, confirmed that the property had been sold to a property developer who was planning to build a retirement village on the land.
“They are currently in the process of designing it and getting all the paperwork done before they proceed,” he said.
Last year, Herzlia Kerem Pre-Primary moved into its new campus in Oak Farm Crescent, off Kendal Road (“New home for preschool,” July 22, 2021), and Mr Renssen said that site would not be affected by the development but it would be shared with the Constantia Hebrew congregation, which still meets in the old school hall.
“It is a beautiful example of a school and a religious congregation working hand-in-hand to the benefit of the surrounding community,” said Mr Renssen.
According to the site development plan, the property will be subdivided into two portions. The largest, where the sports fields are, will be used for the Oasis Life Retirement Village. Herzlia will retain the rest for a place of work and place of instruction in accordance with the current zoning.
All the school buildings in the northern section of the site will be demolished to accommodate the proposed development. The closing date for public comment is today, Thursday May 5.
The site is located between Old Kendal Road to the north and Kendal Road to the south. Access to the school is currently from Old Kendal Road. A secondary access from Oak Farm Crescent serves the existing building in the south-western corner of the site. This is the building that will be retained by Herzlia.
Oasis Life Village is proposing 127 residential units in the form of a life-rights ownership scheme. The units will range from studio units to single storey two-bedroom dwellings.
The multi-storey units will be restricted to the northern section of the site, abutting Old Kendal Road, while the single-storey dwellings will be developed in the middle and southern section of the site. Buildings along the eastern boundary will be two-storeys on a semi-basement for parking while other multi-storey units will be housed in three-storey buildings on a semi-basement.
The clubhouse will house offices, a common-room, kitchen and restaurant for the village residents.
Access will be through a security-controlled entrance off Old Kendal Road with a service access off Lucius Way.
Mariska Auret, director at Rabie Property Group, said Herzlia Constantia had sought a proposal in 2021 for the redevelopment of most of the site and Rabie’s proposal had been selected. “The retention of the Constantia Hebrew congregation in close proximity to the school is very important to United Herzlia School, and they will be comfortably accommodated in this new section of their remaining property,” said Ms Auret.
Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews did not respond to questions about how many objections had been received so far, but he said all comments would be assessed.
Mark Schäfer, chairman of Bergvliet Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association, said the association’s executive committee had no objection to the proposed development and was unaware of any objections from members of the association who lived near the school.
“Whilst we remain concerned about the ageing sewerage infrastructure in the area, we trust that the City’s civil engineering department will consider the impact of the development on the infrastructure. The loss of green open space is regrettable, but the landscape plan submitted would appear to try and mitigate such loss,” said Mr Schäfer.
BMRA secretary Winnie Craythorne, speaking in her personal capacity as someone with decades of experience on planning, advised affected neighbours to check the building-line departures. “These will bring the buildings closer to them, and particularly the building-line departure along Kendal Road, for future road-widening purposes. In addition, a request should be made to reduce the number of residential units to mitigate the pressure on the waste water and other infrastructure.”
Simon Zar, of Townsend Avenue, said he and his neighbour in Kendal Road would be affected by the new entrance as the development would bring more traffic noise and far more than the 50 peak-hour trips a day by residents, as described in the proposal. “After it’s built, there will be contractors and staff doing over 150 trips a day, not including residents. The intersection at Old Kendal and Kendal roads is already under pressure,” he said.
Mr Zar said the property was presently lush with greenery and the double-storey school buildings were on the inside of the property. However, the proposed development showed three-storey blocks on the outer edge of the land, which was not consistent with the look and feel of the neighbourhood.
He also questioned what type of fencing the developers would use and complained that no meeting had been held for residents to voice their concerns.