Construction battle persists

This is what Donald Cameron sees on the rooftop of 21 Loader Street. The picture is supplied by Mr Cameron.

The ongoing construction at 21 Loader Street, a house in De Waterkant, is still being challenged by the De Waterkant Civic Association.

Construction began in May 2021, but a stop-work order was issued in December 2021 after residents and the DWCA raised concerns that Heritage Western Cape rules and the Heritage Protection Overlay Loader Zone (HPOZ) were being violated (“De Waterkant construction opposed”, January 27, 2022 and “Upset over ongoing Loader Street construction”, September 15, 2022).

“The consultation process was flawed, the notification and advertising process was flawed, the lack of neighbours consent was flawed, there were different versions of plans presented to the DQCA for comment, so the plan that was approved was not the plan that we originally had comments on,” said Spider Clark, the chairman of the DWCA.

According to Mr Clark, the DWCA wrote to the City of Cape Town on October 10, 2022, and followed up with monthly emails to keep them informed, and to question the ongoing construction, but they received no response.

“We asked them to please confirm if the construction happening is in accordance with the plans passed and approved of the plans dated 23 December 2019. So we simply call them the 2019 plans, that has the City date stamp on it,” Mr Clark says.

“We eventually got a response from the City on the 10th of February and they don’t answer the question (if the building plans are compliant) instead it says the building inspectors have been on site and that the planning department is considering the construction that is happening,” he said.

Donald Cameron, the next-door neighbour to 21 and 23 Loader Street, says he has also written to the City about what he considers to be questionable construction and has been addressing the matters since 2015.

“There is a long documentary path of objection and irregularity from residents including many minuted discussions and reports at DWCA meetings,” he said.

Eddie Andrews, the mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, says they have received and responded to Mr Cameron over the last two years and are not aware of any ongoing construction.

“The building plan application that was approved on 23 December 2019 includes the roof deck. However, there are deviations to the approved building plan and a notice was served in terms of the Municipal Planning By-Law addressing this aspect,” said Mr Andrews.

Jan-Dirk Van Der Walt, director of Salt architects, says they are following instructions from the City.

“The firewall was a requirement of the city. The requirement was 1m according to the SANS 10400 Part T of 2011 (the new regulations did not come until 2020). So, the height is a request from the city, and it is to comply with the national building regulations. So, it’s LAW and therefore a requirement. The height is within the approved height, ” he said, adding that it was also approved by Heritage Western Cape.

“And we had the DWCA’s blessing on the plans, because they had seen these plans not once, but two or three times,” said Mr Van Der Walt.

He said on some requirements they were waiting for the City to give them clarity.

Dr Zak Schabort, the owner of 21 Loader Street, says he has no intention to have a kitchen on the rooftop and adds that a few houses have rooftop pools.

“It is unreasonable to believe that houses in De Waterkant, known for its rooftop living, will not be permitted rooftop terraces,” said Dr Schabort.

The front entrance of 21 Loader Street, this picture was taken last year.