Bowling club to appeal rezoning

Camps Bay Preparatory School is pleased with Municipal Planning Tribunal's decision to rezone the land used by the bowling club.

The Camps Bay Bowling Club (CBBC) will appeal the decision by the Municipal Planning Tribunal last week to rezone a piece of City-owned land for educational use.

The move to rezone the land makes way for the Camps Bay Preparatory School to expand.

The Camps Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (CBRRA), however, are still hopeful of a shared option between the club and the school.

CBBC have used the land for almost 100 years and have about 50 active members.

Principal of Camps Bay Primary, Stuart Collier, who has been involved in the negotiations, said they were pleased with the decision by the tribunal.

He said the decision to rezone the land to include educational purposes was a significant step in the process.

With regards to the plans to expand the school, Mr Collier said: “The school will wait for the final outcome of the lease process which involves termination of the present lease with the bowling club and signing of the lease by the Western Cape Education Department on behalf of the school.

“The school has plans ready to upgrade the parking area, convert part of the parking area into much needed play space as well as to create a sportsfield. The building will be utilised for classrooms and the hall used for assemblies. A requirement of the rezoning approval is that we will need to landscape the property with indigenous plants, and we have plans for that.”

He added that provision will also be made for proper signage for the safety of the children crossing from the existing school to the new area.

Mr Collier said the school had been negotiating for a shared option but that these negotiations had proven difficult. “As stated by the tribunal it is ultimately up to the owner of the land (the City of Cape Town) to make a decision on a shared option; the tribunal was only making a decision on the rezoning of the land.

“The school has always been interested in a shared option from the outset six years ago, however, negotiations with the bowling club on a shared option have so far been fruitless and unproductive.”

Michael Brand, president of the CBBC, said he was disappointed with the City’s decision and said the whole process was unnecessary. “My feeling is that the City has other plots in Camps Bay that council could have used for the school.”

He said they would be appealing the rezoning decision, saying: “We have our lawyers on it.”

Mr Brand added that they were still open to a shared option with the school and would be discussing the matter at a club meeting next week.

Ian Neilson, City of Cape Town executive deputy mayor, confirmed that the condition in the lease approval is that as soon as the planning issues have been resolved and approved, the City will issue a three-month notice to the club to vacate. “Whether they will still be able to occupy the land after that would be a discussion between the club and the new lessee.The approval process is still appealable and therefore no final approval has been granted yet.”

Johan van Der Merwe, Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, added that the City was now in the process of informing all parties of the decision and their appeal rights. “Once any appeals have been processed and a final decision reached, the applicant will need to comply with any specific conditions of the rezoning approval before the property can be used for the rezoned purposes.”

Mr Van Der Merwe said the school would be able to build on the land, subject to certain conditions. However, he added: “From the application, it is understood that the applicant intends making use of the existing buildings on the site.”

Chris Willemse, chairperson of the CBRRA, said the tribunal’s decision last week had not come as a surprise. “The City has not been involved in any talks between the parties and, as the land owner, it would have to consider any resolution between the parties. It is assumed that the City would favourably consider any option that is in the best interests of the community, school and club.”

He said the tribunal did not make any decision on the lease as that was beyond the scope of the application, which was merely to determine the acceptability of the rezoning from (Public) Open Space 2 to Community Zone 1, which allows a place of instruction.

Mr Willemse added: “The CBRRA remains steadfast in its commitment to a shared option, which is the only sensible solution to ensure the optimal use of this very important land parcel in the village – and prevent any possible private, commercial development of the land at a later stage.

“There is certainly enough land for both the school and the bowls club to co-exist and retain a 100- year old sports club and also allow for the necessary expansion of the school.”

Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for the MEC for Education Debbie Schäfer, said they were pleased with the tribunal’s decision. “We are pleased with the outcome of the decision but are aware that this decision can still be challenged by the objectors, which will further delay the actual use of the property by Camps Bay Prep School.

“Over the last five years each grade has expanded to include an extra class so we do need extra space to accommodate the learners that are accommodated at the prep school which is currently congested, as well as to accommodate pupil growth.”