Residents upset about proposed block of flats

An impression of a development planned for Ruwari.

A three-storey block of flats planned for Protea Heights in Brackenfell is unwelcome as it will lead to more traffic congestion and overcrowding of schools, say residents.

That’s not the only reason some are against it: residents fear a 25m-high existing cell mast less than 30m away from the proposed development could make children in the flats sick. Atlas Town Planning submitted an application to the City of Cape Town to rezone portion 79 of Farm Haasendal, commonly known as the “Groenland Farm”, from Agricultural to General Residential 2 and to create a Utility zone for the existing cell tower on the corner of Kruis Street and Crammix Road, Brackenfell.

Tuesday October 15 is the deadline for public comments and objections.

To date, there are no objections are on the City’s records.

According to the applicant, Koos Olivier, the 7490m2 plot will accommodate 61 flats of various sizes, two covered parking bays per flat and the second and third storey flats will have balconies.

The land-use application seeks consent for a building line set back 4.5m from the plot to the Kruis Street and 4.7m relaxation for the departures on Crammix Road.

He said the development catered for the “medium-income market”.

Existing trees would be removed and planted elsewhere, said Mr Oliver, citing a tree study that he said had found they were foreign species such as palm trees.

The open space between the flats would include playing apparatus for children.

Asked to specify the price of the flats and what they would look like, he said: “It is still to be considered.”

When Northern News first contacted Mr Olivier, asking why the development would be close to a cell mast, he said: “Having this out in the paper is like begging residents to object to the development.”

In fact, residents did not know about the development, as a notice was not placed at the farm.

Resident Nathan Krumm said he had not known about the development and would be objecting as soon as possible. Brackenfell’s roads were already overcrowded, especially Kruis Street, he said.

“Kruis Street has potholes that can damage your car. More cars coming into the area will hurt the roads even further and using the road will cause traffic congestion. It would be a bright idea to first fix the infrastructure in Brackenfell before allowing more developers to come and make their money here,” he said.

Mr Krumm said it was a “horrendous sight” to look into a new block of flats while driving through his hometown.

Another resident, Petro Smallbones, said she did not approve of the development because all schools were already overcrowded, roads were filled with cars and “the City is approving developments left, right and centre”.

Brackenfell’s roads couldn’t cope with current traffic volumes and didn’t need more cars.

“The thing that angers me the most is that a disguised cell mast is in that vicinity, and it is unhealthy to any human, especially children. Yet it’s being incorporated into this development.”

Every open piece of land, she said, was like a must-have for developers and new developments “pop up out of nowhere” without residents hearing about them first.

Brackenfell Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association administrator Peter Sutter said traffic congestion and overcrowding at schools were his main concerns.

He said he had learnt at a recent meeting that children in the area were battling to find spaces in local high schools. New developments would only add to the problem.

“I have been living in Brackenfell for more than 30 years, and it was never like this. We lived in a leafy suburb, but now it’s just one development after another. Brackenfell has lost its character.”

City spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said that while the property was zoned for agricultural purposes it was unlikely to ever be farmed and the City would like to see it used for future urban expansion.

He added that the proposed development was not “social housing”.

According to him a service availability report, traffic impact statement and tree survey had already been done and the space had no heritage significance.

Comments and objections can be sent to Comments_Objections.Northern@capetown.gov.za