Monday, November 19

Residents, local authorities must be involved in all developments

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"In most cases, with established older suburbs having no space to create new roads, traffic congestion becomes another negative to the value of their homes.”

For commercial developments to have a positive impact on neighbouring and surrounding residential areas, Century 21’s Harry Nicolaides says the commercial or retail developer and his design team, together with the local governmental planning authorities, must involve the residential community in the design and location “long before the construction process”.

Unfortunately the shortage of viable commercial ground in established suburbs is a reality. In these instances, he says neighbouring residences are “almost always negatively affected by having other homes demolished to make way for large commercial and retail structures on their doorsteps.

“These block vistas and sunlight. In most cases, with established older suburbs having no space to create new roads, traffic congestion becomes another negative to the value of their homes.”

Nicolaides says an example is the Cedar Square, Fourways Mall, and Fourways Crossing Shopping Centre axis in Joburg, where all three (and more) converge to a point on Witkoppen Road.

“This has created constant major traffic congestion on feeder roads for residents in Fourways, Craigovon, Broadacres and Dainfern. Not long ago these suburbs had a ‘country feel’. Now the area is a commercial node and high-density residential node with all the trappings that come with them.”

Nicolaides says while there is demand for this type of living, and a market for smaller more affordable sectional title properties, developers and planning authorities “did not plan correctly at the initial stage”.

“There is major road construction going on to ease congestion but only new roads will alleviate the problem.”

A “great example” of a commercial development having a positive impact on surrounding residential suburbs is the Mall of Africa in Midrand.

“Although residents in the surrounding suburbs are conveniently close to the Sandton and Joburg CBDs, it is a challenge to travel to and from these areas due to traffic congestion. Now with this desirable and significant retail and commercial development on their doorstep, their properties are in demand, making their values fairly secure.”

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