GAP Housing for Plattekloof area?

Netwerk24 reports that the City of Cape Town has given in-principle approval for the sale of a Plattekloof property worth R50 million in order to accommodate GAP Housing plans.

The Plattekloof area, which houses some of the most expensive properties in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, could face its first affordable or GAP (Government-assisted Programme) housing project.

This decision in respect of the property situated along Olienhout Avenue was taken at the most recent council meeting at the end of April.

According to the report tabled at the council meeting, the proposal to sell the land received 33 objections in June 2015.

“The property is not required for municipal purposes and the City granted ‘in-principle’ approval for the sale by public competition.

“At the moment the property is not on the market and the City will only consider a market-related offer at the time of the transaction conclusion,” said Stuart Diamond, Mayco member for assets and facilities management.

At the most recent council meeting, Diamond proposed that a further recommendation be added to the report on the agenda. According to the recommendation, the site is to be disposed for medium-density mixed-use development with a requirement for a component of any future development on the site to become affordable or GAP housing.

It was further recommended that any gain or loss incurred by the municipality in respect of the transfer of the asset be included in the municipality’s adjustment budget.

The concerns of the objectors are summarised as follows in the report:

The sale of the property would deprive surrounding residents of an open space and pond (the duck pond), currently being used extensively for recreational purposes.

The development of the property would exacerbate traffic congestion in the area and place further demands on the surrounding road network.

One objector had previously been part of a consortium involved in negotiations with the City to purchase the property in order to develop a hotel.

Negotiations had been terminated with them, as they had failed to provide a guarantee to the satisfaction of the City. The objector was demanding the City to grant him a right of first refusal on the sale.

In response, the City’s property management department stated the following:

Since the establishment of townships, it has always been the City’s intention to develop the property in terms of its current zoning. The Plattekloof neighbourhood has an abundance of open space and natural areas, and “the duck pond” is actually on the neighbouring Erf 20908, which is zoned public open space; residents will therefore still have access to the pond and 25 000 square metres of surrounding open space.

The Traffic Services Department conducted a site inspection of the area and recommended that a Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) be conducted due to the large size of the erf. However, such a TIA will only be required once a site development plan has been submitted by the future owner of the property.

The City obtained a legal opinion at the time of the termination of negotiations with the “hotel consortium” – it was determined that there were no grounds for the consortium being entitled to a right of first refusal on the sale of the property.

In a second legal opinion obtained in 2016, the City was advised that there was no basis for the claim.

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