As a reminder, a brief history of the Saxon Square development matter, follows:
- We received a copy of the application made by the developers to build a seven-storey apartment block with a suggested 134 dwelling units, on the corner of Oxford Road and Worcester Road, to which we duly submitted our objections.Our objections included:
- Inadequate parking space and the consequences of on-street parking.
- The undesirability of having a seven-storey building in a residential area and the noise that this would create for the residents from the contemplated roof entertainment area.
- The inadequacy of the current infrastructure to handle the current load, let alone the increase from buildings such as that contemplated.
- The Tribunal was convened and heard the matter on 29 November 2021 (during the hearing it was established that the Tribunal was not properly constituted in terms of the Act, but which the chairman conveniently elected to disregard).
- The decision of the Tribunal was handed down on 10 December 2021 which rejected the objections but gave no reasons for the decision or why the chairman elected to continue with the hearing when it was patently not properly constituted.
- We asked for reasons, paid the money required but have not yet to-date received a reply.
- Consequently, we elected to join the neighbours, who had also submitted their objections, to appeal that decision.
- The appeal was heard by the MMC in the City without any discussion and her decision was handed down on 8 June 2022 (it was out of time by that date) with a one sentence dismissal of our appeal. There were no reasons or discussion provided on the reason either for the decision of the Tribunal or the appeal.
- At this stage we realised that it was necessary to apply to the High Court to insist that the City respects our legal rights.SAPRA requested contributions from the community for this action and we were greatly encouraged by the substantial amounts we received. We were thus able to support and join the action by the neighbours.
- We briefed our attorneys to apply for a Review by the High Court of both decisions i.e. the Tribunal and the Appeal. As we were concerned that the City had given the go-ahead for the developers to commence with their project, we felt it was necessary to also apply for an urgent interdict to prevent any building pending the hearing of our review application.
- Papers were prepared and served on 12 October 2022.
- On 18 October 2022 our attorneys were approached by the attorneys advising the City that their clients wished to settle the urgent interdict. The City had agreed to:
- Rescind the appeal decision by the City and all decisions that followed.
- Obtain an undertaking by the developers not to proceed with any building on the two properties (other than for a single dwelling unit on each erf.).
- Refund of all taxed costs involved in the urgent interdict.
- This was agreed by all parties and presented to the Hight Court and made an order of that court.
- The result is that the matter is wound back to the time immediately prior to the appeal. It will now be up to the City to hear the appeal in a proper manner and provide good reasons as to why they have arrived at their decision. Whether we will continue with the Review application or not will, of course, depends upon the decision made on this new appeal.
This is, we believe, a big win for us. It has made the City take notice of its citizens’ rights and to act in accordance with the law and, hopefully, continue to respect those rights in the future. If not, we will be back in court.
For those of a legal bent, you can read the Court Order by clicking here.