Garden Cities to build new suburb

After eight years of planning, Greenville Garden City, a new town on 767ha of land at Fisantekraal near Durbanville, to eventually accommodate over 16 000 homes, schools, community facilities, public spaces and transport infrastructure, has been signed into being.

 The project has been ratified by the conclusion of a memorandum of understanding between Garden Cities, the Western Cape’s oldest residential property company established in 1919, and the City of Cape Town.

Construction of the Civil Works will commence this month (January) and in June, building will start on Phase One, comprising 868 Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses. A total of 2 800 houses to accommodate BNG, social housing and finance linked housing has been approved in terms of town planning regulations. The total project cost for these 2 800 units will amount to R382 million over the next three years.

Signing the memorandum, Seth Maqetuka, Executive Director of Human Settlements in the City of Cape Town, told Garden Cities Group CEO John Matthews and Director Tony Marsh that the project stood as a model for all future private/public partnerships. It was unusual, he said for private partners to come of their own accord, with both land and expertise on offer. ‘It makes us look good both in the City and the Province.’ 

‘It has national and local award potential,’ he said of the project that has been eight years in the planning by Garden Cities, which set the standards with early suburban developments such as Pinelands, Edgemead, and Northpine among others.

Greenville Garden City will run parallel with the company’s two other major developments in the city, Sunningdale on the west coast, and Pinehurst in the northern areas.

Matthews said that Greenville Garden City was his company’s most important project in its 95-year history. ‘There will be a wide variety of residents from different economic sectors within the 767 hectares all of which will be recognisable as a Garden Cities development with the quality and aesthetics which that implies.  “Residents will be required to abide by community guidelines and will be in no doubt that they are living in a Garden Cities suburb, with the high standards that we uphold.”

As part of the infrastructure of the first stages of the development, Garden Cities will establish a local office on site and also create prototype houses for research and development purposes. 

One of the major priorities was the research into and development of improved low cost housing units. Plans include houses with facades reflecting the aesthetic of the Bo-Kaap and also the evocative pitched-roof houses found in other Garden Cities developments. Streetscapes will present an attractive continuous façade of individual homes in complete harmony.

Greenville has been planned as an Integrated Settlement. While the building of bonded housing for sale to first-time buyers and middle income homeowners is part of the entire town planning strategy, Garden Cities understands the desperate need to house people from informal settlements and for affordable rental stock and Gap housing. The early stages of the development will therefore concentrate on provision of housing for lower income residents, being those in the greatest need.

Extensive liaison has taken place between Garden Cities and all affected residents and community and civic associations in the areas, and a Project Steering Committee has been established to keep all role players and Beneficiarie fully informed of the scope and effect of the development. 

‘The full co-operation of all parties is essential in expediting a project of this nature. Eventually, Greenville will be a completely integrated community that will accommodate a wide cross-section of the Cape population,’ said Matthews. Bonded housing in the price bracket of R350 000 to R400 000 is envisaged. 

The subsidised housing will be for occupation by households earning combined incomes less than R3 500 per month who qualify in terms of the Department of Human Settlement criteria.

Garden Cities Director Tony Marsh said that the planning in the BNG sector of the development had primarily taken the lifestyle of prospective tenants into consideration.   Although the houses have similar footprints, the house elevations differ and are designed in such a way that the streetscapes can be managed and maintained while providing a level of diversity across the development.

Historically, Garden Cities has provided the entire infrastructure for its new developments and Greenville Garden City will be no different, and the planning includes school sites, retail developments, sports grounds and health care. 

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