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Thursday Apr 12, 2012

Court halts Pietermaritzburg property development

The R200-million development of a Superspar in Hayfields, Pietermaritzburg, has been temporarily stopped until the developer's building plans are approved by the Msunduzi municipality.

The developer, Nickolaos Christodoulou, yesterday undertook in the Pietermaritzburg High Court not to erect any building in contravention of the National Building Regulations and Buildings Standards Act pending the municipality's approval of the plans and specifications lodged on November 17 last year.

This came after the municipality brought an application to stop any work from taking place at the site until the plans were approved, and until an appeal by aggrieved residents against the development was finalised.

Christodoulou consented to the first order but said he would oppose the latter, which was not pursued further by the municipality, and the case was adjourned indefinitely.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said in court papers that the municipality had approved Christodoulou's application for the development in Blackburrow Road, Mills Circle, opposite the existing Hayfields Mall, in terms of the Planning and Development Act, on June 30, 2011, despite several objections by residents. The residents then lodged an appeal against the decision with the provincial appeals tribunal.

Despite the pending appeal, Christodoulou went ahead and had taken steps to develop the property, said Nkosi. He added that the building plans had not yet been approved by the municipality, which was awaiting the outcome of the residents' appeal.

Christodoulou replied that there had been no need for the municipality's application, as he had agreed to stop work last month, pending approval of his plans. He denied having done anything illegal to date, including allegations by the municipality that he had acted illegally in demolishing buildings on the property.

"The demolition has been done with permits," he said.

Christodoulou added that holes had been dug on the property and steel material delivered to the site. No foundation trenches had been completed, nor had any concrete been thrown.

One of those opposed to the development, Nora Choveaux, was reported to have said that residents' objections related to traffic congestion and the inadequacy of the road infrastructure in Mills Circle to cope with large delivery vehicles.

The Mercury

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