Compromise is key

Dr Thomas Rajna, Claremont

It was good to see the Tatler focusing on the concerns of the residents of Claremont (not of Rondebosch, as stated by the article) about yet another undesirable development intruding into the lifestyle and amenities of a residential neighbourhood
(“Belvedere development sparks concern,” March 8).

I was quoted saying: “The proposed development does not allow for modifications to make it suitable for this neighbourhood.”

In fact, in addition to sending to the council my personal letter of objection to this project, I also signed a petition issued by BECA, our
local civic association, which asks precisely for such modifications of height, parking space and access-egress arrangements.

So I was not likely to deny the possibility of amendments to the plan, experience having taught us to see these as the only likely concessions we might wrestle from the developer-friendly council.

What I did say (and was perhaps misunderstood) was that this massive pile of unneeded shops and offices sprawling over three erven, clogging the approach to the T-junction by the Train Park and smothering tiny one-way Wyndover Road, this whole speculative venture is so wrong and harmful for the environment that no amount of tinkering with modifications can redeem it and it should be scrapped altogether.

BECA did not adopt such an extreme position and opted for a compromise, perhaps wisely.

Could Wyndover Road get the better of City Hall and the clout of the developers?

We tried in 2006 with Belvedere Court, a residential development a few yards from the present proposed block and the end result was a compromise: the height of the segment overlooking Wyndover Road was reduced by one storey.