Neighbours at loggerheads in Brooklyn

Priclo Trailers and Caravans in Wemyss Street, Brooklyn.

A Brooklyn man says he has reached breaking point because of a noisy business next to his home.

Isaac Louw has lived in Wemyss Street for 22 years. Next door is Priclo Trailers and Caravans – a business specialising in the sale, hire, spares and manufacturing of trailers and caravans – which he says has clients rocking up, with car speakers blaring, at all hours of day or night to drop off trailers and caravans.

Matters came to a head two weeks ago when a Priclo client and Mr Louw got into a row that turned physical.

Mr Louw said the client, a taxi driver, always played loud music when he pulled up at the business, and the man had previously threatened him with a knife when he’d asked him to turn his music down.

Last week, at 4am, Mr Louw said he had again asked the taxi driver to turn down the volume. But when his pleas were ignored he had jumped over the fence warning he would turn it down himself.

Instead the taxi driver and another man in the vehicle had beaten him up. Mr Louw said he had suffered injuries to his head, neck, ribs and shoulder in the confrontation, which he said he’d been driven to by “frustration and anger”. Mr Louw said he had wanted to lay assault charges but changed his mind because he had jumped over the wall first.

Mr Louw said he had clashed several times over the years with Priclo’s owner, Peter Price.

“I’ve had problems with Mr Price since I moved in. Before, I had a fence put up they would use my property to gain entrance to his property. The very first day I put up a fence someone on his property knocked into one of my poles. He also used to operate the business throughout the night, but recently I’ve been complaining so much that it no longer goes on for 24 hours,” said Mr Louw.

He said he had rented his house before buying it and during that time his landlord had written a letter to the municipality on his behalf, complaining about the noise.

Mr Louw said he can’t understand why Priclo’s entrance is in Wemyss Street when its address is Koeberg Road. He believes moving the entrance would dampen the noise.

Mr Louw said on Thursday July 21, following a complaint from Mr Price, City law enforcement had visited him about some rocks he had placed in front of his home. Mr Louw said he had used the rocks to stop people parking there. Others in Wemyss Street had done the same thing in front of their homes, he said.

“It frustrates me that I have approached law enforcement, the police and the mayor’s office, yet I am getting nowhere yet he complains to the municipality and they are at my door,” he said.

Mr Price said his business offered a 24-hour return service, and there had only been 12 “very late or very early visits to the depot” in the past three months.

He said sales and admin hours were Monday to Friday from 8am to 5.30pm and Saturdays from 8am to 1pm. They are closed on public holidays and Sundays.

He denied using Mr Louw’s property to gain entrance to his business but admitted to damages to Mr Louw’s wall, which he said had been repaired immediately and he was amazed Mr Louw was still “harping on this incident” as it had happened years ago.

Mr Price said daily incident reports filed by staff scotched Mr Louw’s complaints about noisy clients.

“However, I concede that some individuals may be inconsiderate,” he said. When asked why the entrance was not in Koeberg Road, Mr Price said town planning regulations will not permit an entrance on this erf onto the main road “possibly because the erf is a rectangular shape”.

“The piece facing onto Koeberg Road is short so an entrance would be too close to the intersection. We did enquire about moving the entrance to opposite our office entrance. This was rejected,” he said.

“Since Mr Louw has become the responsible person (of the house), he has been at loggerheads with our staff, our customers and the local hawkers who dare trade on the pavement opposite his driveway. He persists in seeking solace from the municipality, the MEC, the mayor’s office and the SAPS all of whom have done nothing to alleviate his problems. So does he really have such a serious problem that cannot be resolved amicably?

“We have recently spent R100 000 on installing cameras. The purpose being to make the area a safer place. If the cameras discourage the active trade of prostitution, Mr Louw will also benefit from a quieter environment. We have experienced the presence of prostitutes on this corner, and this has contributed much to after hours disturbances.”

The cameras, he said, would also “provide accurate records of customers causing a disturbance”.

He was willing to meet with Mr Louw to discuss ways to reduce noise at the business, including posting signs asking customers to be considerate and asking staff to stop promoting the 24-hour facility.

“We will put a time restriction on the after-hour’s policy of say 9pm latest and 6am earliest,” said Mr Price.

Johan van der Merwe, the City’s mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, said Priclo is on property zoned for general business.

The City’s health department, he said, had only become aware of the noise complaints after seeing Tabletalk’s questions and had asked Mr Louw for a sworn statement, which he had then submitted. Mr Van der Merwe said the matter would be investigated.

“Mr Price is not in contravention of any municipal by-law by having his entrance in Wemyss Road where it is at the moment. The City will definitely not allow access off Koeberg Road.

“At the most, it can be considered to relocate the current access further towards Koeberg Road for a maximum of about 20m. Whether this will solve Mr Louw’s problem is however questionable,” said Mr Van der Merwe.