Irate over illegal creche

Little Stars Blouberg Educare has been the subject of discussions among residents of Blouberg Rise.

A Blouberg crèche has been taken to court by the City of Cape Town for operating without the proper land use application.

A number of Blouberg Rise residents in Curlewis Road have complained, saying that they have tried all the appropriate municipal routes and followed all due procedures relating to exposing the crèche and its owners. One resident said they have been laying complaints with authorities since December last year.

Little Stars Blouberg Educare started operating in 2009 in Coral Road, Blouberg and moved to the new premises in Curlewis Road in December last year.

The school is owned by Soledad Florentino and her husband Dario Florentino. The property is zoned as Single Residential 1 (SR1). This means that the property can be used for a dwelling/ house but additionally, it can also be used for home occupation, bed and breakfast establishment or home child care.

But a property owner would need to submit a formal application in terms of the Municipal Planning By-law to the City for evaluation and decision prior to operating the additional uses.

Blouberg Rise resident Leon Garisch is a neighbour of the crèche, and says that he and his wife are not happy about the establishment. “None of the neighbours were informed or consulted about this crèche being established, and on further investigation, it was found that no approval for a crèche on this property was obtained from the City council.

From my observations, it is evident that nobody lives in the building and that it is used solely for the purposes of looking after children. “Furthermore, the children are allowed to play outside in the backyard of this house and it gets very noisy at times. My wife and I, like many of our neighbours, work from home and the noise coming from this creche is a major disturbance to us,” he said.

According to mayoral committee member for area north, Grant Twigg, no land use application had been submitted in this particular matter and therefore a land use contravention notice was issued. He also said the City was aware of the complaints and several residents have communicated their complaints to them.

Tabletalk asked Mr Twigg whether the crèche was allowed to operate, to which he replied: “No, the crèche is not allowed to operate until the necessary permissions have been granted. The matter regarding the land use contravention was handed over to the court for further action,” he said.

Heike Lubbe, a Curlewis Road resident for the past 22 years, said her biggest problem was the noise and toys being thrown over her wall. “It seems like there is lack of supervision on the side of the school because I often find balls, other toys and even T-shirts and dummies on my lawn. I have a vegetable garden and adjacent on the other side, the school has a jungle gym. This is causing soil erosion and also causing the wall to be unsteady,” said Ms Lubbe.

Curlewis Road already has three other schools and residents say at times, the road becomes heavily congested with schoolchildren and vehicles from Bloubergrant High School, Bloubergrant Pre-primary School and the Sinai Academy. They say that the crèche only adds to the existing traffic problems, which is not only inconvenient to the residents, but also potentially dangerous.

Mr Twigg added that in future, should anyone wish to open and operate a creche, they would need to follow the terms of the Municipal Planning By-law. The registered owner would be required to apply to the City for its approval prior to operating a crèche from their premises.

Tabletalk has been trying to get a response from the crèche since October but was unable to do so by the time this issue went to print.

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