Stroke Rehab is a land use problem

Winnie Craythorne, secretary of the Bergvliet/Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association

In reference to the letters from Messrs Wilkinson and Rohloff (“Stroke Rehab plays vital role,” Bulletin, September 1).

While one has no desire to debate this matter in the media, one does need to clarify the issue and the motives of Bergvliet-Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association.

The Bergvliet/ Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association does not dispute the fact that the therapists of the South Peninsula Rehab CC do wonderful work: the nature of the work is not the problem – it is the land-use contravention that is the problem. Many professional people, eg doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, etc do wonderful work to help people, but there are town planning rules as to how and where it should be done in a residential area.

It is permissible to conduct these activities in residential areas as home occupations. It is not permissible to utilise residential zoned properties exclusively for business usage, irrespective of the nature of the business conducted or services provided.

We are aware that the clinic seeks to conduct the therapy in a homely environment, but are of the opinion that the same result could be achieved from a house that is situated in an area more conducive to the flow of patients without affecting the neighbouring residents and the residential environment, or from the practitioners’ own homes, which happen to be in other suburbs.

There are many professionals who practise from homes along Main Road or in other mixed-use areas, which, in time, become largely business usage as commercial creep occurs and the residents flee.

The Bergvliet/ Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association works hard in its endeavours to protect and preserve the residential integrity of our sought-after suburbs, and unless the association acts in matters of land-use contraventions, it would be failing in its duty to its members to uphold the standards of the area.

Bergvliet and Meadowridge are examples of sound town planning, where service roads were built to protect residential properties from busy thoroughfares that traverse the suburbs, and commercial / community zones have been created within the residential area to provide for services to be rendered to the local community.

To permit residential properties to be utilised solely for business usage wherever business people may choose, contradicts the sound town planning principles which have made properties in these suburbs extremely sought after and accordingly increasingly valuable. Furthermore, there is a shortage of housing stock in Cape Town, which is exacerbated when residential dwellings are used for business purposes.

We encourage all property owners to abide by the rules and regulations pertaining to business activity in residential areas, to be considerate to their neighbours and respect the peaceful residential environment that we value and enjoy. That is what we, as a ratepayers’ organisation, seek to ensure for the benefit of our community.