With the Integrated Rapid Transport (IRT) system now almost completed in Table View, ward councillor Heather Brenner has warned residents near Blaauwberg Road that higher density development is on the cards.
However, a resident who lives in the nearby Arum Road refuses to accept this stance.
“I’ve lived in Arum Road since 1974 and I’m fine with some densification, but there has to be a limit. Ten units on a plot surrounded by others with just one house is too much,” says Eric Joffee.
He is referring to a proposal by a property group in which two adjacent plots (one bordering Blaauwberg Road and one Arum Road) might soon be developed into 10 residential units.
This application and subsequent objections have come up at the local subcouncil, then at the City of Cape Town’s Spatial Planning, Environment and Land Use Management Committee (Spelum) to make a final recommendation and, finally, appealed to province.
Says Brenner: “There has, in the past five years, only been two applications in Arum Road for higher density. In the first the developer asked for 21 units in a combination of four plots that he had bought.
“It was my recommendation that the number of units be reduced to 12 in the interest of there only being a gently paced increase in the environment.
“That went on appeal and province increased the number to 14, but I managed to keep it down.”
She cautiously adds that Table View will not remain a “little backwater” forever.
“The market and various influences will change the face of Table View, but I believe we are doing it in a very responsible manner.
“It is important that people are not developing the area out of proportion.”
Having received only two applications in Arum Road over five years suggests that it will still be a while before relative densification will take place, but Brenner is certain that the “momentum will increase”.
Joffee touched on the “detrimental” effect that development in Arum Road will have on property prices, but Brenner says studies done overseas indicate the opposite.
“Developers will probably pay higher prices for property along the IRT route, which has transformed this area. One should embrace it. I understand people’s issue with densification. I lived in Table View for 50 years. In fact, when I moved in there were only 28 houses! Back then the residents wanted roads and shopping centres and public transport. They all demanded this because it made the area more attractive for other people. Now people are saying the opposite.”
Joffee is wholly in favour of “keeping with the ambience of this quiet street”.
He adds that Arum Road between Grey and Janssens is a quiet residential street consisting 90 % of single residential plots mostly built in the 70s.
According to him the proposal to build 10 units (with an underground parking area, possibly connecting Blaauwberg Road with Arum Road) is totally unacceptable.
“The nearby residents objected strongly to the proposed development. Some 134 written objections were submitted to the Milnerton subcouncil,” he says.
Brenner responds by saying that the increase in residents and the increase in traffic concerned her more than the actual building of 10 rather small units.
She was also fearful of through-traffic between Blaauwberg and Arum.
The decision was referred to Spelum, which in turn referred it to the full council which made a recommendation.
The applicant appealed this decision, however.
Joffee finally questions the true value of public opinion when he says: “Recently there have been articles in the mainstream press on changes that the City Council wish to make to the rules governing how the public can have an input into the process for approving or disapproving planning applications by developers. Fears have been expressed that the proposed changes to the rules would effectively remove any meaningful input from the public.”
Brenner responds: “There is no intention to remove meaningful feedback. The intention is to improve the proper value of the opinion.
“The public participation process can shine a light on certain viewpoints we might not have considered before we make a decision.”