Cape Town - In a victory for housing activists the Municipal Planning Tribunal in Goodwood has approved a new development with an affordable housing component in Paarden Eiland by Spear Reit, a property investment company.
“As one of the most racially segregated and exclusive cities in the world, the City needs to incentivise inclusive growth, especially in well- located areas. Inclusionary housing contributes to the building of a more compact and therefore sustainable city by stimulating density and inclusive development. Importantly, it redresses spatial apartheid by bringing poor and working-class people closer to the opportunities of well-located areas,” said Robyn Park-Ross, researcher at Ndifuna Ukwazi.
Ndifuna Ukwazi made an oral submission to the tribunal last week in support of the development, subject to a meaningful component of affordable housing being locked in as a condition of approval for the development.
Ndifuna Ukwazi said these conditions should maximise affordability and prioritise low-income households by providing guidelines on the number of affordable units, the household incomes that these units should cater to and how people will be selected for these affordable units, and how the units will be kept affordable into perpetuity.
Spear Reit’s proposed development includes a hotel, offices, a motor showroom, supermarket, shops, light industries and flats.
The property compromises 10 ervens. The company has made a proposal to demolish all existing structures and build a 54m-high development.
CEO of Spear Riet Quintin Rossi said they are proud to pioneer the reinvention of Paarden Eiland into the mixed precinct: "The decision of the Municipal Planning Tribunal shows that the tribunal are forward looking and have regard for the plight of the people having to spend hours in traffic when working in the City and the mixed use development will act as mid point linking the City to the Western Seaboard and other nodal areas.
"The development will enhance the area, add to the urban landscape, enhance rates recoveries for the city of Cape Town and act as a guiding light for other property companies to engage with a mixed type of housing initiatives that will compliment a development and the concept of spatial planning for a modern era," Rossi said.
According to the City, four objections were received on the proposed development. Most of the objections were pertaining to the impact the development would have on traffic, the impact on the industrial land and function, as well as on the boat-building industry.
This is part of a growing trend of developers willing to do affordable housing, including developments in River Club, Observatory; 15 on Kloof Road, Sea Point; 40 on Lion, Bo-Kaap; and Refinery Road.
Park-Ross also accused the City of not adopting its own policy when it comes to affordable housing.
“In August 2018, the City of Cape Town Mayco approved an Inclusionary Housing concept document, which if converted into policy will require new developments in well-located areas to contribute a fair portion of affordable housing. The problem is that the City has not done much since,” she said.
Mayco member for spatial planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt said: “The Municipal Planning Tribunal’s decision is noted by the department. If an applicant or objector is not satisfied with such a decision then they can appeal the decision via the relevant process.
“Each development proposal must be considered on its own merits. When conditions are imposed, such conditions must be reasonable and must arise from the proposed land use. The City currently does not have a policy that may set guidelines when imposing these conditions.”
Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said: “The inclusionary housing policy is in the process of being developed.
“Background feasibility work and other analysis is being done, after which a draft policy will be compiled for public comment. Key stakeholders are being consulted throughout the policy development process.
“Going forward, the City will assess City-owned land, including in and near the Cape Town CBD, among others, to determine whether some of these properties could be developed for housing opportunities,” Booi said.