Successful appeal

Annelie Combrink, Somerset West

The successful appeal against a proposed cell mast tower in Somerset West is thanks to the dedication and hard work done by Francis Clerke.

During February 2019 Global Towers applied to the City of Cape Town for consent use and permanent departure to allow for a 21m high cellphone base station on the Bizweni Church property situated in Bizweni Avenue, Somerset West.

During April 2019 various owners and residents in the vicinity received notices from the City bringing the application to their attention and setting a deadline by which objections were to be lodged with the City.

A large number of owners and residents in the vicinity lodged objections to the proposed mast. These included a letter from a firm of town planners, acting for certain property owners, suggesting alternate locations for the proposed mast. In addition, many property owners objected to the proposed mast on the basis of health concerns and fears that their properties would be devalued.

During August 2019 the municipal planning tribunal (MPT) handed down a decision approving the mast. The location of the proposed mast was changed, but not to one of the alternate locations suggested.

In September 2019 a local legal firm, De Kock & Associates, representing a large number of owners in Lourens River Estate, lodged a comprehensive and vigorous appeal against the MPT decision.

The grounds for appeal were covered under three headings, namely: Procedural Deficiencies, Health Risks and Property De-valuation. They requested to be invited to the appeal hearing into the matter. They received an invitation to an ‘interview’ by the planning appeals advisory panel (PAAP). They were told that they would be permitted to address the Panel for not more than 10 minutes. So Francis Clerke prepared a comprehensive Powerpoint presentation for this purpose and sent keypoints to the PAAP, as requested.

On arrival at the Civic Centre for the hearing, they were informed that the applicant, Global Towers, had decided that it was no longer proceeding with the proposed mast and that the matter had accordingly been withdrawn.

A special thank you to Francis Clerke from De Kock & Associates who acted on behalf of many concerned owners and residents in the Helderberg area.