Paradise lost through new development

A new development promising affordable housing in Parklands North has surrounding residents riled up as they say the area was never planned for this kind of development.

The Eden – a gated complex of four-storey blocks, almost 200 flats, 300 parking bays and some shops – promises to be anything but paradise, say Parklands North residents unhappy about the development on their doorstep.

International Housing Solutions (IHS), a company specialising in affordable housing, got the go-ahead from the City of Cape Town last month to build two gated complexes on two massive plots on the corner of Tryall Road and Wood Drive. Excavation work has already started on The Eden, the first and smaller of the two complexes, which is expected to be finished by mid-2019.

It’s not known when work will start on the second complex, to be called The Residence, according to Tony Enderli, one of the estate agents selling the units off plan.

Plans for the development show some of the four-storey blocks will be built on its outskirts, facing houses in neighbouring streets.

And once complete, the two complexes together will have more than 600 flats and 900 parking bays

Graham Kusano, senior development asset manager at IHS, said The Eden would have about 320m2 of commercial space, envisioned for use by coffee shops and small service businesses.

“Thus encouraging the live, work, play ethos envisaged by the municipality,” said Mr Kusano.

The Eden offers one- and two- bedroom units priced between R700 000 to R950 000. But neighbouring residents feel the development is out of character for the area, which they say has always been promoted as a “slightly upmarket residential suburb”.

Celeste le Roux said she had been shocked to learn of the high-density buildings planned for the spot.

“Most of us that bought in the area were assured by estate agents that this type of development will never be built in the suburb. It was our understanding there would be only townhouses,” said Ms Le Roux.

Paulus Rebel lives in a house that will face one of the four-story blocks. He has filed a complaint with the City, claiming foundation work will cause structural damage to his house and that he would have loss of privacy in his garden.

“I’m going to lose my privacy. I’m going to lose my views of Blouberg hills. This is going to be replaced with balconies which some people will use to hang their washing,” said Mr Le Roux.

He said the City had not thought the plan through before approving them.

“There is a sewage-treatment plant right next to the development. I don’t think it will be able to cope with the number of flats going up. What is going to happen if the plant breaks down? What are they going to do with the sewage then?” said Mr Rebel.

He also wanted to know whether the development would have a grey-water system. But Mr Kusano said residents need not worry because the development complied with city zoning and spatial planning, encouraged “inclusive living” and would be of “high quality”.

The development, he added was registered with the Green Building Council of South Africa.

“The design and intent is to provide a minimum of 20% savings on water, electricity and the embodied energy in the building,” he said.

“We recognise the need to not only create viable housing projects, but also to provide broader community infrastructure with easy access to schools, shops and work opportunities, thereby improving the quality of life of the residents.”
The rapid growth of an emerging middle class, he said, meant there was a big demand for quality affordable homes.

When Tabletalk asked the City to list its reasons for approving the development, we were told the relevant official was on leave until the end of the month.