Controversial plot for sale

The owners of the controversial 106 Boyes Drive development have quit the project and are selling – R30 million will get you a portion of the sprawling mountainside plot.

For your money you’ll get a mound of rock and narrow, twisting driveway, but there’s no house.

Originally, the 8000m2 property (Erf 177476) was divided into five plots. Now the owners, known only as Country Club Holdings (PTY) Limited, have applied to the City to subdivide the land into three plots.

A second plot has an R18 million price tag. It’s not known how much the owners want for the third parcel of land

The two largest plots will share the single, partially cantilevered driveway that winds down the hillside, but the third section will have road access from St James.

The crane that had long loomed over the site is now gone after work stopped late last year.

However, the Kalk Bay St James Special Ratings Area wants the City of Cape Town to stall the sale until the site is cleaned up and the owners make good on promises the association says they made to blend a wall into the surroundings.

Questions started getting asked about how the development got passed when its scale became apparent.

In November last year, Geoff Davies, the man known as the Green Bishop because of his environmental activism, red-carded the development for stripping the mountainside of indigenous vegetation and being completely out of character for the area.

“I don’t know how the council could have given permission for such an outrageous and costly scheme as that,” he said at the time.

Estate agent Louma le Roux confirmed that Erf 177476 was on the market as a plot-and-plan purchase for R30 million and that the owners’ bid to subdivide the plot was the subject of an environmental impact assessment.

A buyer wanting to press ahead with the original plans would have City approval.

Any other plans would need to start from scratch.

The site’s architect, Johan Slee of Slee and Co, said only that they were busy with the sub-division.

A source close to the owners said work on the site had been abandoned after a family meeting.

The home, said to have been planned as a double storey
with five bedrooms and a wine cellar, has not been built, but the site has been prepared for its foundations.

The source said a security estate had been planned for the section of the property now being sold for R18 million.

Bert Stafford, vice chairman of the Kalk Bay St James SRA, said the owners had promised that the retaining wall would be stone clad to blend with the Boyes Drive wall fashioned in the 1920s, but the present wall was simply concrete. The SRA wants the City to block the sale of the property until the cladding is added, the site cleared of rubble and debris, and the ravine and waterway cleared and cleaned.

The development – even unfinished – had had a big impact on the area, he said.

The site’s new environmental impact assessment study can be viewed in full on the SLR consulting site at www.slr.consulting.com in the Africa section, under public documents.

Barrie Gasson, head of the heritage sub-committee of the Kalk Bay and St James Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, said the development’s scale was the most objectionable element.

He agreed with all three of Mr Stafford’s demands, saying the retaining walls needed to be stone clad as promised in the architect’s plans and the ravine cleared and rubble removed.

“The City has been asked to ensure these things before approval is given to further consolidation and sub-division of the site,” he said.

He also felt the site had been severely changed and said the disappointment about the development was largely due to its scale and the many years it would take to restore any sort of mature indigenous regrowth of vegetation on the site.

He said with the current changes it was anybody’s guess as to how long the site could stand vacant or what would be proposed in its place.

The City did not comment by the time of going to print.