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Row over Cecilia Rd development

Paarl is ever developing and the newest such developement can be found in Cecilia Road. But to what extent will its rich heritage be affected by modern construction.

Phase 1 of the development, which is underway, covering the area between the railway line and the KWV cellars, will be home to Builders Express. Builders is due to open in October. More retail space is on the cards for the future.

But the Drakenstein Heritage Foundation (DHF) has raised some concerns over the development. Chairperson Rolf Annas said the foundation learned of the development only after construction had commenced in May. “The Heritage Foundation was never afforded the opportunity to comment,” he said.

Annas also alleges neither Drakenstein Municipality nor Aikman and Associates, who submitted the Notice of Intent to Develop (NID) to Heritage Western Cape on the developers’ behalf, had consulted interested and affected parties listed in the NID. “These include three historic farmsteads (along Cecilia Road), residents of Alleman Street and users of Cecilia Road (being residents of mostly Paarl and Surrounds),” he said.

The application was not referred to the Drakenstein Advisory Committee for Town Aesthetics and Environmental Matters (ACTAE), nor was construction begun with an approved building plan, Annas said.

“Current construction work suggests the building will be at least twice as high as the model shown in the Aikman report and the visual impact assessment,” he explained. Annas added that concrete columns erected indicate the building will obstruct the view of sections of Paarl Mountain from Cecilia Road, and “the concrete columns also seem higher than the buildings on the adjacent KWV site.”

He said the property is listed as a “‘Be Careful’ zone” in the Drakenstein Municipality's Site Development Plan, and argues it is situated along a scenic route that forms one of the entrances to Paarl from the N1.

“The DHF is not opposed to development, job creation, re-purposing land or old buildings, Annas says, “but it is a simple courtesy to inquire of neighbours who may be affected by an addition, alteration or new building, whether they have any valid objection, and to reach some mutual agreement.”

The developers, however, say all the necessary steps were taken to ensure the requirements were met, and Western Cape Heritage gave the development the go-ahead.

A Drakenstein municipal spokesperson said safe traffic access to the development is via a separate southerly slipway, an exit is on the northern side.

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