28 Aug Ballito mall extension will ‘decrease neighbourhood property values
Judgment has been reserved in the case of Ballito Lifestyle Centre owner Bruce Rencken, who is attempting to stop the redevelopment of the new R1.4 billion Ballito Junction.
Judge Jacqueline Henriques, after listening to lengthy technical arguments from all parties concerned related to town planning schemes, the national building regulations act, the provincial road traffic act and the constitution, reserved judgment in the case, saying she needed time to apply her mind.
“I will endeavour to deliver judgment in this matter within two weeks,” the Judge said.
Rencken made an urgent application to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to have construction of the shopping mall halted because, he claims, the construction of the mall would decrease his property value.
The respondents include Flanagan and Gerard, developers of the mall, the KwaDukuza municipality, and the Department of Transport, which was noticeably absent from court proceedings yesterday.
Rencken claims that the municipality have not held public meetings to discuss significant changes to the access road off the Ballito entrance road (P445), nor do they have approved building plans for the new centre.
He maintains that the new Ballito Junction would affect the value of his home and would make access to his home and residents of the neighbouring Wakenshaw Estate extremely difficult.
Access to his home and Wakenshaw Estate has been recently changed with the building of a new access (link) road.
Rencken claims that the Department of Transport had not approved the new road, making its use illegal.
“The link road has not been rezoned for it to be used as a public road and significant building is occurring without required approval. The inconvenience of sharing an access road with a major shopping centre will have an adverse effect on my property value,” he said.
He also said no public meeting had been arranged by the Department of Transport and Flanagan and Gerard to discuss the new road and other relevant issues.
The projected completion date for the new mall is March 2017. Once completed, Ballito Junction will be six times larger than its present size.
Rencken claims that with each day that goes by with construction, he and his neighbours are being increasingly prejudiced.
In their replying argument, the municipality claims that Rencken’s application is unnecessary, ill-founded and should be dismissed with costs.
They maintain that they are concerned by Rencken’s application, as he is director of the company that developed the Ballito Lifestyle mall, which is directly across the road from the Ballito Junction shopping centre.
“The true motive for this application is highly likely to be commercially based, rather than because of any real infringement of legal rights,” KwaDukuza municipal manager, Nhlanhla Mdakane, said in court papers.
Mdakane confirmed that building plans have been passed, and that any construction currently being undertaken is being conducted lawfully, despite Rencken’s claims.
The municipal manager continued that the balance of convenience must be overwhelmingly against the granting of an order that would stop the R1.4 billion development simply because of the possibility of future traffic around Rencken’s driveway.
He said Rencken and his neighbours had known of the likelihood of the link road, which gives access to their driveways, becoming substantially busier for almost 10 years.
A copy of a traffic report commissioned in June 2007 indicates that the link road was intended to form part of a north-south arterial road and provide western access to their properties.
“Not only has it been envisaged that the link road would be upgraded and become much busier for many years, but the previous western entrance to the Ballito Junction shopping centre was demolished six months ago, and so the only reasonable assumption to be made is that the new western access would be from the link road,” Mdakane said.
He reiterated that contrary to averments by Rencken, the developers had obtained permission for the proposed upgrade of the link road from the transport department.