Highlands residents take legal action against flats developer

12 Apr, 2024 - 00:04 0 Views
Highlands residents take legal action against flats developer The high rise flats being built along Montgomery Road in Highlands.


Suburban Reporter

Highlands residents have decided to take legal action against the illegal development at Number 9 Montgomery Road where a developer is building high-rise flats without following city building regulations and by-laws.

Residents want to approach the courts seeking an order for the developer to halt construction until they get the necessary approvals.

In a recent update, residents were informed that neighbours around the illegal development at Number 9 Montgomery Road had decided to apply for a court order for the developer to cease construction until they get the necessary approvals.

The City of Harare is believed to have already communicated with the developer demanding they stop construction but the developer is ignoring all communications and continuing to build the illegal structures. Residents of the area were urged to add their signatures to the court papers being drafted by their lawyer to add more weight to the court action.

The residents were requested to send their details (names and addresses) to the lawyer if they were willing to have their names and signatures on the affidavit.

“Residents of Highlands, let’s unite to protect our neighbourhood’s integrity by halting the construction of illegal structures. Together, we can preserve the charm and standards of our community,” read the update.

Highlands residents who live along Montgomery Road have objected to the construction of high-rise flats built along the road.

In their objection submitted to the City of Harare, the residents said the development at Number 9 Montgomery Road was a transgression of city by-laws and was being done without the necessary approvals and building permits as well as the consultation of neighbours with adjoining properties. The flats do not conform to standards in a low-density area as they will house many people, the residents argued.

“We write as residents to object to the development taking place at Number 9 Montgomery Road and our grounds for objection are the following:

The construction commenced without any notice having been given to residents in terms of Section 26 (3) of the Regional Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12). This is a gross irregularity that ought to be investigated as the Act requires adjacent neighbours to be notified before the plan can be approved.

The access point (entrance to the premises) has been put at a corner and this is a potential hazard to traffic. The access point is at the corner of Montgomery Road and Purbeck Close, and this issue has to be looked at closely as it poses danger to road users. Moreover, the viewed plan shows that there ought to be two gates to the premises yet only one has been constructed.

It is clear that the structures being built on the lot of land, are in violation of building lines in relation to adjacent properties. The perimeter walls are too close to the main and adjacent roads, and in violation of stipulated building by-laws. We also have reason to believe that they have built their perimeter wall above the main water supply line.

The construction taking place at the premises of four structures is in violation of the proposed number of structures which was set at three for the lot of the land as per proposed plans viewed by us.

There is great concern over the number of occupants who shall be permitted to reside on the property seeing that this is a low-density area and the dormitory type of construction taking place at the premises does not conform to the area.

“We humbly request that all building at the premises be stayed pending your address of these issues,” reads the objection by the residents.

When the developers got wind of the fact that the residents were approaching the City of Harare to object to the building, they rushed in mid-January this year to draft a notice to residents seeking their consent to the new development yet their buildings are almost complete. Builders at the site are alleged to be intruding into neighbours’ privacy by peeping into their properties forcing some, like one widow, to sell their houses and move to other suburbs.

In December last year, Greendale residents coordinated a petition against the building of 32 double-storey cluster houses along Rhodesville Avenue.

The move followed questionnaires sent to stakeholders including residents with properties bordering Number 17 Rhodesville Avenue where the clusters are proposed to be built by consultants hired by the developers, Dankit Investments (Pvt) Ltd.

The consultants EnviroEye were conducting a survey in fulfillment of the Environmental Management Agency’s (EMA) requirements for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the cluster housing development.

But residents of the area argued that the proposed clusters will overburden the already poor water and sewer infrastructure in Greendale.

Greendale is one of the northern suburbs where council tap water is scarce with some sections of the suburb going for several years without municipal water.

The suburb also has relentless sewer bursts as a number of cluster houses have been developed in the area without an expansion of the sewer reticulation system.

“This is in your interest, please assist urgently as they are trying to block this petition at every turn to overpopulate our area where our service delivery is already not enough for the current residents,” read a notice sent to Greendale residents this week.

Residents were encouraged to fill in the questionnaire from EnviroEye.

Greendale residents believed that the developers of the clusters are trying to get ahead of them by pretending to have consulted the neighbourhood when in fact they have only given these forms to a couple of houses in the area.

Residents were also not sure whether Dankit Investments (Pvt) Ltd intends to build 32 or 64 cluster units because the building plans are not clear.

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