The City is looking at retaining the City-owned land along lower Buitengracht Street, which has been held by the province as road reserve. Picture: Jason Boud/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The City is looking at retaining the City-owned land along lower Buitengracht Street, which has been held by the province as road reserve for the unfinished Foreshore freeway.

Subcouncil 16, which consists of the city bowl, last month approved a request to the provincial government to amend the road scheme proclamation and release 11 225m² of City-owned land that has been under-utilised for over 40 years.

The land is between Walter Sisulu Avenue and Wale Street and was formally used for the original 1970s Buitengracht Road Scheme, which would have linked the Foreshore freeway to parking garages in the city via an elevated viaduct.

A 2003 review of the original scheme found that the proposed Buitengracht viaducts were redundant and should be abandoned, with the land made available for development.

The proposed road scheme amendment does not affect any of the transport options for the Foreshore.

Mayco member for Transport, Felicity Purchase said: “The report was served before subcouncil 16 last month and must still serve before council for approval.

“If or once council has approved it, then the City can formally request the provincial government amend the road scheme proclamation.”

Purchase said no decision had yet been made.

In the report served before the subcouncil it states: “After evaluation by the chief engineer: land transport, a recommendation will be made to the Transport and Public Works MEC for consideration and approval. Thereafter, a notice will be published in the Provincial Gazette to redefine the road reserve boundaries.

“Once the proclamation process is concluded, a land use planning process will follow to restore transport zone land parcels to their previous zoning or to an appropriate new zoning. Properties could be consolidated to maximise their full development potential.”

The land was among the sites which the housing advocacy group Ndifuna Ukwazi identified as potentially usable for affordable housing in the inner city.

In a report published by Ndifuna Ukwazi earlier this year titled “City Leases: Cape Town’s Failure to Redistribute Land”, the organisation identified 13 700m² of City-owned land along lower Buitengracht Street, which could be developed to provide between 719 and 1 079 affordable housing units in eight to 12-storey mixed-use, mixed-income buildings.

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Cape Argus