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Court rules for Clara Anna

The second phase of the Clara Anna Fontein development has now been released on the market after the recent ruling by the Constitutional Court in favour of the developer.

The court ruled against the application for leave to appeal by the Durbanville Community Forum (DCF), which has opposed the development in court for many years, saying it had “no prospect of success”.

Francois Louw of Louw & Coetzee Attorneys said in the media release the ruling effectively ended the DCF’s opposition against the environmental authorisation issued by the provincial minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in 2013.

“In spite of losing various objections, appeals and court cases and having legal costs awarded against them on a number of occasions, the DCF continued on a path of litigation. The DCF has now lost in the Cape High Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein as well as in the Constitutional Court, paving the way for the development, to proceed as planned,” said Louw

In response to these statements in the media release, a spokesperson for the DCF said “the DCF finds it strange how Francois Louw of Louw and Coetzee always tries to make out that the DCF is some sort of pariah for defending the environment as if to continually justify the development of this historic farm and cultural heritage site and non-renewable resources”.

“The DCF exercised its constitutional right to protect the environment, which includes the non-renewable resources from being developed out of existence. In the Public Participation Process (PPP) the Louw Family Trust claimed that the land was 70,2% low to low medium agricultural potential and had been 85% gravel mined. However, independent scientific evidence by registered soil scientists showed that as much as 75% of the land is in fact high potential unique agricultural soils. In terms of the national department of agriculture’s national policy these must be protected.

“The scientific evidence also shows that gravel mining was restricted to just 20% of the property and did not take place on the high potential soils. Also during the PPP, an important wetland delineation report was omitted by the trust. The High Court, in recognition of the DCF’s right to protect the environment, did not award costs against the DCF, and the Constitutional Court, which never actually heard the case, ordered that each party carry their own cost,” says the DCF.

“The costs that Louw refers to were for technical reasons, such as when the DCF applied for a postponement due to the fact that its lead advocate discovered she had an advanced form of cancer, requiring immediate treatment,” he explained.

“Whilst the scientific evidence, as overwhelming and damning as it is, was unfortunately obtained too late to have the MEC’s decision overturned, a court case against the City decision is still pending.

“The Louw Family Trust may be proud of its achievement, but the DCF will never regret its effort to protect this historic farm and its scarce non renewable resources,” he said.

Colin Green, a director of Rabie Property Group which is undertaking the development in a joint venture with the landowners, the AFM Louw Family Trust, said in a release only 10 of the 259 single residential erven in phase one are still available.

The 85 plots in phase 2 would be released to the market soon.

Green said the civil engineering contract had been awarded to Power Construction and work is expected to start shortly. First transfers are scheduled for September 2016 and for phase two in 2017. The plots vary in size from 830 m² to 2600 m² and are priced between R1,5 million and R4,2 million.

The original 18th century manor house on the estate will be fully restored .

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