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‘Sol not supporting development’

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“The basis of the withdrawal is that council already approved the erection of the temporary carport structure,”

Picture: Independent Media

THE SOL Plaatje Municipality has come under fire from a local businessman for not supporting development after an apparent “illegal structure” was found to have actually been given the go-ahead by the local authority.

According to a document drawn up by the municipality’s urban planning division, the construction of a carport in Long Street by a local businessman was illegal as the necessary building plans had not been approved.

The report stated further that failure to remove the structure would result in the municipality obtaining a court order.

The businessman, who erected the carports on land he leases from the municipality, showed the DFA a letter he had received form the municipality stating that “after perusing the contract between yourself and the municipality”, the letter ordering him to remove the structure had been withdrawn.

“The basis of the withdrawal is that council already approved the erection of the temporary carport structure,” the letter states.

The carports are located next to the BMW dealership in Long Street and are situated on a portion of a proposed by-pass road. The land is currently being leased to the businessman for a three-year period.

He said yesterday that the plans were originally rejected by the city’s planning department because the building plans had not been approved by the Aesthetics Committee. “This committee is, however, currently non-existent,” he pointed out.

He added that while local businesses were trying to invest in the city, they were being blocked by the municipality.

“The by-pass road has been on the cards since the 1960s but the municipality will not allow any development on the land because it is earmarked for the by-pass road. If, by any chance, a decision is made to go ahead with the bypass, the municipality will give me six months notice to remove the carports, and I can do this without any problems. However, they would rather allow the empty piece of land to remain unutilised and an eyesore on a major road leading into Kimberley, than let me build the carports, which will not only look much better but I will also mean an income for the city.

“One has to ask where this municipality is going and whether it has the best interests of the city at heart.”