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Wednesday Jul 11, 2012

Cape Town's new planning structure up for debate

The City and the province may have observed the letter of the law in approving Cape Town's crucial new planning structure, but have they also acted in the spirit of the law?

That's a question that members of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance will be debating at their meeting on Saturday, and the answer will probably determine whether they accept the new structure that will guide the city's expansion for the next decade or seek a review in the High Court.

At issue is the new Cape Town Spatial Development Framework adopted by the city and approved by planning MEC Anton Bredell recently after the province had required certain changes.

Some alliance members are concerned they've not seen the final responses of the city to their comments on the draft framework and they're not sure whether their comments were taken seriously or simply noted - a form of legal lip-service.

But according to the province, there is no legislative appeal process against Bredell's approval and any challenge will have to be through the courts.

The issue has been put on the agenda of Saturday's alliance meeting by the Kommetjie Residents' and Ratepayers' Association.

The city explains the framework on its website: "To ensure that the city remains a quality place in which to live, work and invest, as well as to visit, it needs a plan to guide this future growth and change..."

The plan is crucial because of Cape Town's "unprecedented change". Its area has almost doubled since the 1980s and its population is expected to reach 4.2 million in 15 years. Rapid growth puts pressure on fresh water, landfill sites, roads and ecological systems. For the poor it increases exposure to floods, fires and disease.

These spatial plans guide investment, give effect to the principles and priorities of the city's development strategies, and identify priority areas for strategic intervention.

Cape Argus

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