Housing estate concerns

Maureen Krasser, Somerset West

I live directly opposite the Western boundary of the proposed Helderberg College development and am thus one of the most affected in terms of the potential impact of a large housing estate. I take issue with Elden Swart’s statement “the public participation process (PPP) where required has also been complied with”.

I met with Dr Injetty on March 9 2016 to express my concerns about the development. He promised to keep me involved and informed but did no such thing.

By virtue of this meeting I should have been considered an I&AP (interested and affected party) and invited to comment on the heritage impact assessment.

I was not given this opportunity and thus the college is in breach of the PPP conditions of approval imposed
by Heritage Western Cape.

Furthermore, I registered as an I&AP with the environmental practitioner responsible for compiling the basic assessment report (BAR) for the Department of Environmental Affairs.

Despite giving her my full postal and email contact addresses, I was not sent a copy of the Environmental Authorisation (EA). This is in breach of the requirement to send all registered I&APs the EA documents. A cross check of the BAR documentation shows an additional eight registered I&APs from Helderberg Estate who were also not sent a copy of the documentation.

Whether this was incompetence or deliberate I cannot say, but it was not in compliance with the regulations.

These concerns have been passed on to (environmental MEC) Anton Bredell.

Regarding the letter from Dr Ficker (“Necessary versus unnecessary developments”, Bolander letters, May 1), he states: “I came to the conclusion that there was basically nothing new in the objections at all”.

Of course there
was nothing new –
the objections are the same as they have always been:

Serious concerns regarding high volumes of traffic, in particular construction traffic, which pose real safety issues for Helderberg Estate residents and domestic staff

Heritage concerns, in particular visual impact of building on an exposed ridgeline; use of Harewood Avenue for construction traffic; a high density development which is not in keeping with the local surroundings

Dr Ficker should remember that the land in question is outside the urban edge (now reclassified as “discouraged growth area”.)

Development outside the urban edge is subject to a strict set of rules, one of which is that there must be no other development land available in the locality which is located within the urban edge. Considering all of the current development in Somerset West, some of which is very local (Olive Edge, Bredell Road; Heldervue) this requirement is not

Therefore the college development can be considered “unnecessary” because there are many developments currently in process which are inside the urban edge; can be accessed through a suitable road system; are not on an exposed ridge and do not have a negative impact on a heritage resource.

Property supply in Somerset West is currently well in excess of demand (ask any estate agent) so the suggestion by the college that this development is “needed” cannot be substantiated.