Four-storey flats get thumbs down

The construction site next to James Rickettss house as seen from the entrance in First Avenue.

The owner of a historical
cottage on Second Avenue,
Fish Hoek, is appealing for
a legal expert or benefactor to
help him halt a four-storey block
of flats going up next door. 

James Ricketts bought his
home, at 45 Second Avenue,
in 2013. The cottage was built
around 1920, and, since buying
it, Mr Ricketts has made several
changes, including an office, a
deck and swimming pool. 
The City approved the plans
for the 13.5 metre-high block of
10 flats, with entrances in First
and Second avenues, in April and
says it did not need to consider
the impact of this decision on
the site’s neighbours because the
former park is zoned general residential 2 (GR2), which allows for
group housing, boarding houses
and flats, among others, up to
15m high. 

Marian Nieuwoudt, mayoral
committee member for spatial
planning and environment,
said there was no need for the
developer or the City to consult
affected parties as the developer
was within his rights. 
However, Mr Ricketts, feels the
City failed to fully consider Section 7 of the National Building Act
before approving the plans.
Section 7 says local authorities should not approve an application for a building if it disfigures the area, if it is unsightly
and objectionable and if it may
diminish the value of adjoining or
neighbouring properties. 
A report by an architect commissioned by Mr Ricketts and his
neighbours says the development
is likely to disfigure the area due
to its “dissonant scale, form and
architectural style which is not in
line with the characteristics of the
area”, and the building changes
the physical topography of the
hillside it’s being built into. 

The architect’s report describes the development as a
“cut-off building” with large blank
walls “which are without doubt
unsightly.” 

It says that due to the development maximising its footprint
with building lines on the boundary and extended to almost full
height, it will cause significant loss
of sunlight to the properties of Mr
Ricketts and other neighbours on
the south side of the development.
The report describes the impact
of the loss of sunlight to Mr Ricketts’s property as “devastating”. 
The cottage gets direct sunlight
from 8am to 5:30pm in winter
but only a small portion of the
property will get it from 11:30am
to 3:30pm after the flats are built,
the report notes. 
Mr Ricketts has obtained the
signatures of 24 residents and
ratepayers of First and Second
avenues on a letter to City councillors and officials. 

It petitions them
to not approve developments that
ignore the Section 7 requirements
most relevant to neighbours and
neighbourhoods.
Due to procedural law, the
official deadline for a court application in this case is Wednesday
October 7. 

If you can assist Mr Ricketts,
email jmd.ricketts@icloud.com or
visit his campaign page https://
www.backabuddy.co.za/jamesricketts