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Friday Jun 27, 2014

Camps Bay bowling club loses lease battle

After a four-year dispute, the City of Cape Town has given the Department of Education the green light to lease land used by the Camps Bay Bowling Club for the expansion of a school.

But the club is not giving up just yet, and president Mattthew Bater said last night that legal action would be considered.

'It has always been the position that if the lease was cancelled, we would take legal action.'

Mayor Patricia de Lille said in the council yesterday that the decision was based on what would offer the best solution, while meeting the community's social needs.

The application follows a request by Camps Bay Preparatory School to expand its classrooms on to the prime land used by the Camps Bay Bowling Club.

The council was to have considered the application last month, after it was approved by the mayoral committee, but Education MEC Debbie Schafer asked for the decision to be delayed by a month so she could consider both party's concerns.

The school, represented by lobby group the Concerned Parents' Group, said the club's dwindling membership, and the proximity of the nearby Glen Bowling Club, meant that the land would be better use for education.

But the club, which celebrates its centenary this year, contended that it was a well-used community facility that was popular with a number of sporting codes. One of the offers on the table was for the school and the club to share the land.

Suzanne Maier, of the Concerned Parents Group, said yesterday: 'We are delighted it has gone in the Education Department's favour, but we have to say we are disappointed that a shared solution could not be agreed upon. We do have the whole community's interests at heart, but unfortunately we could not come to an agreement. Although it is a loss of a social bowling club, the added benefits for the community will be increased access to the fields and continued availability of the hall for the community.

'It will also be the best way to preserve the much-treasured green belt in Camps Bay.'

Bater said the bowling club had been in favour of a shared solution, but the proposal put forward by the school would have meant a 'dramatic reduction' in the club's functionality. 'The club still supports a solution where both parties can sustain themselves.'

The council approved the recommendation yesterday to lease the land to the department, in effect cancelling the bowling club's lease, which was to expire in 2018.

Cape Argus


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