Residents bristle over developments

Development in the Claremont area has significantly increased in the past few years and residents are not happy about it.

Residents in Upper Claremont have come together to object to several large-scale development applications, which they fear could ruin the character of the area.

Four separate development applications have been submitted to the City for consideration in Claremont and they are all for high-rise flats.

These applications are apart from the recent developments seen in the area such as the apartments built on the corner of Hugon Road and at 3 Grove Walk, as well as the current development of an office park on the corner of Cavendish and Osborne streets.

Residents say the area is impacted by “overdevelopment” in the section at Cavendish Street, Grove Avenue, Feldhausen Road and Protea Road and they want the City to hear their concerns.

“It is understood that the area has been earmarked for densification by the City, the extent, type and scale of these developments is, however, inappropriate and unacceptable. Applications for development are considered in isolation and without due consideration of their impact on the surrounding environment and infrastructure, said Vicki Erskine.

“Developments do not consider heritage value of the area and the developers, who often are not residents of the area, are seeking to maximise the returns on their investments even though these developments already have a significant and clear negative impact on the surrounding environment and neighbouring residents.”

Ms Erskine, who has been documenting development in the area, said the developments caused additional parking and traffic issues and threatened the heritage value of the area, as well as the quality of life and the rights of residents.

Resident, Juanine Bulmer said it was incredibly time-consuming for homeowners to repeatedly put in the same objections to council for all the development taking place in the area, and the City did not listen.

“Every objection takes over two hours plus if using photographic evidence over a period of time as proof to motivation evidence. When is the City going to listen and investigate our legitimate concerns of traffic , safety and parking in the area?” said Ms Bulmer.

Resident Alexis van der Merwe agreed with Ms Bulmer and said issues they listed were not being investigated. She said residents were not against development in the area, but the number of developments and the size of proposals were concerning.

“We are against several recent developments, which propose four to six-storey-type blocks of flats. These high-rise flats, typically proposed on small erven, often need several departures and are being driven by developers who are looking to maximize the height, size and floor area of the development.

“This type of high-rise building is typically in stark contrast to the existing scale, look and grain of the area and has a significant negative impact in terms of loss of heritage value, noise pollution, increased traffic, parking, and pedestrian safety issues as well as a negative impact on the environment and health of the surrounding residents,” said Ms Van der Merwe.

Mayoral committee member for area south, Eddie Andrews, confirmed that a number of applications had been received for the area, including an application for a block of flats at the corner of Osbourne Road and an application for two three-storey town houses on Bishoplea Road.

However, Mr Andrews did not confirm that the area had been selected for densification and said that there was simply a demand for houses in the area.

“The area is zoned general residential that permits, among others, blocks of flats. It’s very well located and there is a very large demand for housing in this area.”

The City is also processing an application to consolidate two heritage houses at 8 and 10 Feldhausen Road. A total of 37 objections were received and the applicant agreed that the application should not be referred to the Municipal Planning Tribunal until Heritage Western Cape has made a decision on the demolition of the existing houses on the property.

Heritage Western CEO, Mxolisi Dlamuka said the application for demolition of the two properties was approved as the structures at 8 and 10 Feldhausen Road had insufficient heritage significance to warrant retention and did not contribute to the streetscape.

Mr Dlamuka said another property at 47 Bishoplea Road was received for partial demolition, which had also been approved and a notice of intent to develop on 6 and 8 Hugon Road and 17 Osborne Road had been received and is being reviewed.