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Tuesday Jul 18, 2017

Durban residents opposed to golf course sale

A Durban North residents' group is considering pursuing legal action, against the Durban Country Club, in an effort to safeguard the Beachwood Golf Course.

The Fairway Residents Association - through its spokesperson Rob Goulden - announced their position on the matter after the recently confirmed sale of the course for R95 million.

The body also said it, as part of an SBV (or special purpose vehicle), put forward a proposal that would have seen the golf course staying exactly as it was laid out.

The three-phased payment structure, he said, would have realised an additional R25m over and above the R95m now accepted.

The sale of the prime property - at one stage earmarked to be included in a plan for a R6 billion development for Virginia Airport - was announced in a letter to members of the Durban Country Club on Thursday.

Chairperson of the club Richard Pemberton said in the same letter: "The purchaser of Beachwood is Beachwood Investments (Pty) Ltd, a company formed by a group of businessmen and a property developer, for the purpose of the development of the property in due course when the appropriate authorities are granted."

Goulden told The Mercury yesterday that the group would continue to engage with all parties involved.

"This will include whatever legal and other options available to (us) to ensure that this pristine landmark is retained in the best interests of the Durban North residents, Durban Country Club members and the greater Durban community. It is vital to ensure that the area is managed in the way that the original donors of the site intended."

He said the rezoning application, to develop 2.4 hectares of the Beachwood site for sectional title use, had been approved.

"That application was approved in May 2016. It is currently pending a final decision from the tribunal, to consider the appeal against its approval. The date for this hearing to be convened is set for July 25, 2017."

Goulden said: "My personal view is that while the (club's) board is entitled to sell the property to whoever they like and for whatever price, they have made a massive error of judgment in going for the quick-fix solution."

He said members of the association, and some club members, had met the purchasers and were advised by them that their vision for the development was for an upmarket, exclusive gated residential estate.

"While no plans have yet been provided, residents and members have indicated that they will most definitely not support this type of development."

Chief executive of the Durban Country Club Pascale van Maris said Beachwood was sold after "due consideration" of all tenders received. "Due process was followed and the sale took place in the best interest of Durban Country Club. Further than that, we have no comments."

The Mercury

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