Ratepayers’ action stops development in Camps Bay

Camps Bay residents have notched up a victory in their efforts to stop inappropriate development in their neighbourhood.

The Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ Association (CBCRA) took their fight to the High Court and their application to halt construction at 22 Sedgemoor Road, Camps Bay was successful.

Construction on this building in Camps bay will not continue.

Justice Robert Henney heard the matter over two days last year, starting on December 13, and subsequently granted an interdict to stop any building work at Erf 2320.

The CBCRA argued that the approved building plans of the developer indicated that they allow for a building which is higher than what is allowed in terms of the local zoning scheme. While the developer argued to the contrary, the Court ruled in favour of the CBCRA.

In a statement released to the media, CBCRA said this could result in the demolition of the unlawful building work on the 990m2 property.

“We cannot have blocks of flats developed on small pieces of land in Camps Bay. If we allow this, Camps Bay will, within a few years, look no different from Sea Point or Green Point. We do not want Camps Bay to be a neighbourhood largely consisting of blocks of flats,” said Chris Willemse, the chairman of the CBCRA.

“Property values, the beauty of Camps Bay and the nature of a gardened neighbourhood, are important to local residents and ratepayers.

“It is the prevention of large numbers of blocks of flats that has, until now, made Camps Bay so attractive. Profits are important to developers so they will keep pushing for the development of more and more flats in Camps Bay, because flats can produce more profits than the development of houses. They will keep on with this, until they have ultimately destroyed the beauty of Camps Bay and its built environment. We will not allow this to happen,” he said.

The owner of the property, Adrienne Peretz, however, believes the judge was misinformed about both the plans and the height of the building and had “made a grievous error in our opinion in awarding the interdict”.

“The building is structurally complete and is 100% compliant with the plans and the heights and in every other respect and this has been independently verified by experts,” Ms Peretz said.

During the court hearing it was revealed that the developer’s approved zoning for the construction had previously lapsed. The zoning was then extended by a City official without any form of public participation, according to the CBCRA.

“Such conduct by City officials, to favour developers, is simply unacceptable. We have rights, which must also be respected. We have a duty to challenge such conduct of City officials, whenever and wherever it occurs. It is not acceptable that City officials collect rates and charges from ratepayers every month, but when it comes to decision-making, our rights are trampled,” said Mr Willemse.

Another view of 22 Sedgemoor Road in Camps Bay.

The City is aware of the High Court ruling, said Deputy Mayor Eddie Andrews, who is also the City’s mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment. He added that the matter is under consideration but was sub judice so he could not comment further.

The CBCRA will apply to have the building plans of the developer set aside, and due to the nature of legal proceedings they expect it could take years.

However, Ms Peretz is hoping that construction will continue.

“Hopefully the truth will become apparent in the court review, and the building team and sub-contractors will be allowed to continue the finishes for what has been described and attested to as a world class building by leading estate agents,” she said.

This building would have housed four luxury apartments according to the billboard.