Court bid to halt city construction

ct NEW MAVERICKS 5898 RYAN JACOBS UP AGAINST THE WALL: Residents of the eighth floor of a luxury block of flats in the city have objected to the construction of a new development in front of their balconies. This photograph shows the eighth floor of the old flats abutting the sixth floor of the new block. Photo: Ryan Jacobs

Barbara Maregele

A GROUP of residents of the eighth floor of a luxury block of flats with a balcony view of the sea have gone to court to halt construction of a new development.

The homeowners are up in arms as the walls of a new development of the adjacent building on the corner of Buitenkant and Commercial streets in the city centre have been built against their balconies.

They lodged an application in the Western Cape High Court against the city and the owners of the new development, Simcha Trust trustees.

However, legal representation for the trustees have said they were only acting within their rights according to the city’s common boundary regulation in the relevant by-law.

Residents told the Cape Times their key complaint was that the new development’s wall, which blocked “any natural light from entering the apartment”, would have a negative effect on their properties.

They requested that the construction be stopped, that the trustees foot the legal bills of the application and that alternative “relief” be granted to them if necessary.

They said the city approved the plans for construction on September 20, 2008.

Construction of the eight-floor development to be called “the Oracle” started in May.

During a visit to the flats this week, resident Amber van der Walt complained about the unplastered wall of scaffolding and bricks against her balcony.

The 28 year old said she would never have bought the flat if she knew her view and privacy would be gone.

When she bought the flat in Buitenkant Street for R730 000 at the end of July, she saw that construction had begun, but did not know that it would ruin her view.

“I open my curtains every morning and look into a construction site being built on my balcony.

“I can’t open the windows or sliding door because of the amount of dirt and dust coming in, so my place gets no ventilation,” she said.

“I have to start switching on the lights by 3pm because it gets so dark…

Meanwhile, representing the Simcha Trust, George de Beer from Honey Attorneys said the trustees were building within their rights.

The case will be heard today.

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