Daily menace of flats under construction

The large crane at the construction site.

A Kenilworth resident says she’s had to make “peace” with a five-storey development next to her home – as well as the noise, dust and inconvenience – but she wants the City to consider all these factors for future developments instead of simply touting “gentrification and densification”.

Since November, June Bradbury and her family, have had to deal with the daily noise, dirt, a large crane and inconvenience of the “The Wentworth” block of flats in Wessels Road – despite residents’ three-year battle to block the development.

Last year, the Tatler reported on this issue – which started in 2016, when developers snapped up two properties in Wessels Road and got the City to approve departures that led to 61 objections from residents (“Wessels Road flats plan raises ire,” Tatler, March 15, 2018).

During the initial public participation process, Ms Bradbury said residents had tried everything to oppose the development, from objecting, to attending the Municipal Planning Tribunal and even hiring a lawyer – but it had all been in vain.

She recently read an article in the Tatler on a planned five-storey development in Albion Road, Rondebosch, and said she felt for the residents and hoped they had better luck in blocking the development (“Residents object to five-storey flats,” May 16).

“I can understand where the residents are coming from and hope that the City will consider the reasons for their objections.”

Ms Bradbury said she was still not sure how or why the City had allowed this development to go ahead in the heritage-rich area, with its 5m-wide road. She said the building was right on their boundary and they had to deal with debris falling into their property daily.

“It is very dangerous – our room is on the side of the development, and when the wind blows, it is quite scary with all the debris falling onto our roof. I don’t understand how the City could approve this building,” she said.

Ms Bradbury said the infrastructure in Wessels Road could not support a development of this size and there were already too many people living in the tiny road.

Phillip Nel, from Newlands Development, said one the neighbours would not allow them to erect hoarding to screen homes from minor debris.

“The other neighbour we have constantly engaged with, with a view to lowering any impact associated with any building process,” he said.

Marian Nieuwoudt, mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, said the tribunal had partially approved and partially refused the application in November 2017.

She said the land use application had been approved on April 11 2018 by the appeal authority and the building plan had been approved on October 25 2018.

Ms Nieuwoudt said there was no heritage trigger and and the area had historically had general residential zoning with a policy focus on “compact and efficient land development”.

She added: “The block of flats will be located in an area where there is good access to local employment and economic opportunities and ultimately containing urban sprawl.”

Ms Bradbury said the development had been the second most traumatic experience in her life, the first being the death of her mother

She said she had struggled to come to terms with this and had even been to a psychologist. Her home had been in the family since 1958.

“Every morning, I wake up to this monstrosity, and I am shocked,” said Ms Bradbury.

Mr Nel said the flats were expected to be complete by November.