Irish-owned Cape Town property riles up posh Mouille Point neighbours

Derelict building owned by Kenneth Denton in Bay Road, Mouille Point.

Derelict building owned by Kenneth Denton in Bay Road, Mouille Point.

Published Jul 3, 2024


Cape Town - Irish property investor Kenneth Denton, who owns prime real estate along the Atlantic Seaboard, has raised the ire of Mouille Point residents who say his neglected building continues to be an eyesore.

Dubbed Cinderella, the Bay Road building was once overtaken by homeless people and operated as a brothel before Denton purchased it with the vision of it being a family home, more than 10 years ago.

The property was sold for more than R3 million in 2011.

Denton assigned an architect to build his vision of a dream home with a “world-class” structure, three storeys in height.

But the dream has not materialised as Denton said he has been faced with concerns by residents.

“If I am saying it takes almost a decade to get planning consent on something and the systems are not working. Then the very people complaining about it are the very people raising 68 objections and delaying it, so they cannot expect it to be done and then go to planning tribunals and delay the whole process,” Denton told the Cape Argus yesterday.

“It is a family home, it is not a retirement home,” he said.

Architect Greg Vijoen of Design Lab Architecture who who designed the future plans for the site, refused to comment yesterday, due to a report by another news agency earlier this week, where he was quoted saying that “construction was imminent” and that the existing structure had no heritage value and was approved to be demolished.

According to Viljoen’s website, a recommendation was for a “unique design which had an extreme challenge and had an ‘open-minded client’ who allowed him to create a beautiful, simple, world-class structure which would be transformed into an architectural masterpiece 4-bedroom home”.

Plans for the site, first submitted in 2012, were hit with several structural administration delays.

But Mouille Point Ratepayers’ Association spokesperson and co-ordinator, Jane Meyer, said the property has been an eyesore, adding that it was once inhabited by vagrants. Meyer said the building dated back to 1945.

“This property has been vacant for as long as I have been with the MPRA (which is over 14 years), all the while steadily deteriorating,” she said.

“The building plans for this site were finally approved in March 2019, yet no construction has started yet?”

The City of Cape Town said their Problem Building Unit (PBU) was looking into the matter after being contacted by the Cape Argus.

“The relevant department is currently looking into the matter and the City will respond once the information is collated and verified.”

The City's Law Enforcement spokesperson Wayne Dyason said that the (PBU) is aware of said building.

"The PBU dealt with the property as regulated by the Problem Building By-law. The case was closed in 2022 due to the owner barricading the property which made him compliant in terms of the by-law."

Heather Tager of the Sea Point Central Improvement District said she was not at liberty to comment when approached.

Western Cape Department of Infrastructure spokesperson Jandré Bakker said they did not have jurisdiction over the site.

“This is a property in private ownership and not an asset of/under custodianship of the Department of Infrastructure, hence the department cannot comment.

“The applicable planning/approval authority would be the City of Cape Town and as such the Department of Infrastructure would not be privy to any future plans for the private property.”

Cape Argus