Residents accuse university of flouting deal

Posted On Sunday, 22 June 2003 02:00 Published by
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The Campus Square shopping centre in Auckland Park is at the centre of a row between residents of the suburb and Rand Afrikaans University
By Sabelo Ndlangisa

The Campus Square shopping centre in Auckland Park is at the centre of a row between residents of the suburb and Rand Afrikaans University.

Residents have accused RAU, which owns the land the centre is built on, of flouting the original agreement because of its aims to establish more noisy entertainment venues.

Lone Poulsen, a spokesman for the residents, said since the construction of the centre four years ago, the suburb has irrevocably changed.

There was no sensitivity of residents rights to a peaceful and safe neighbourhood, she said.

The squabble came before the Joburg Town Planning Tribunal this week, following an application by RAU and the developers to be granted amusement rights on the land.

The centre is entitled to have entertainment outlets such as restaurants and shops, but has no rights for amusement venues such as cinemas, gaming machines, pool halls and sporting arenas.
Deviating

Two such establishments Lets Go Bowling, a tenpin bowling alley, and Hard Hats Entertainment Centre, a pool hall are operating illegally.

In addition, RAU and the developers are seeking permission to proceed with plans for a parking garage, a hotel and a drive-through restaurant.

Residents claim RAU and developers, Keystone Investments, who have a 30-year lease with the university, are deviating from the original agreement.

Ernst de Wet, RAUs consultant, told the tribunal that the plans they were seeking approval for fit in with activities in any retail shopping centre. He cited successful malls such as Cresta, Fourways Mall and Randburg Waterfront all of which have amusement facilities.

De Wet claimed that according to the original lease agreement, the university would build housing units along Streatley Avenue to provide a buffer between the shopping centre and the residents of Auckland Park.

This gives further reason why the places of amusement can be allowed on this property without any negative effect to the local community.

Residents should realise that it will be impossible to proceed with their lives as in the past, because they are now living in a business development node that was approved by them, said De Wet.

However, residents said the nuisance the centre was causing was unacceptable.

Other concerns raised by residents in a submission to the tribunal include:

  • Late-night noise and being woken up by cars revving and racing in the parking lot with screeching tyres and roaring engines;
  • Regular gunshots at night and in the mornings;
  • Drunk pedestrians screaming loudly and ringing gate buzzers on Streatley Avenue;
  • Enormous parties, hosted by News Cafe, in marquees in the parking lot with blaring music that can be heard 5km away;
  • Increased light pollution from the centres neon lights; and
  • An increase in incidents of crime.
Mike Robson, spokesman for Joburg Councils Town Planning Department, said the department was opposed to RAUs application because the development is in close proximity to the residential areas of Melville and Auckland Park.

He said that according to the plan for the area, disruption to the suburbs would be kept to a minimum and a high level of activity was not part of the development plan. He said the council had received many complaints about the plans for the development.

It is therefore recommended that no further rights that will allow any increase in the potential negative impact of such uses, should be granted for the site, said Robson.

Sunday Times
 


Publisher: Sunday Times
Source: Sunday Times

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