Rejected Lagoon Bay golf development now proposed as 'green village'
The developers of Lagoon Bay, near George, whose development plans were rejected by the Western Cape government despite approval from the local town council, have resubmitted their proposal, suggesting that what would have been a massive golf estate should now become an eco-friendly agrivillage.
In a new proposal, developer Werner Roux said the Western Cape government's refusal to approve the development in its initial form was currently the subject of a Supreme Court of Appeal case.
Local Government and Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell refused to authorise the rezoning, citing the impact of yet another water- guzzling golf estate along the southern Cape coast.
The R5 billion Lagoon Bay development, while supported by the local community for its potential to create thousands of jobs, also raised the ire of environmentalists.
At the time of the refusal, shortly before the 2011 local government elections, residents threatened a "war" in the southern Cape and a boycott of the DA at the polls.
This week, Roux said the SA property market had changed since Lagoon Bay's inception in 2003, and current conditions meant it was doubtful whether a golf estate would be successful in the area.
"Fortunately, in the case of Lagoon Bay, the opportunity exists to prepare a revised development plan that would respond to current market trends and demand, and that would, in addition, have a significantly lower environmental impact than the previous concept," he said.
The new plan proposes secure housing in an agrarian setting, with medical, commercial, education, sports and recreational facilities included.
The proposed development will include a village, farming, equestrian and resort opportunities, as well as a local farmers' market.
In the hope of emulating English and European rural village settings, and attracting a broader spectrum of buyers, the new plan includes both an agricultural village and a resort with a boutique hotel.
The two villages would comprise only 10 percent of the site, with an agricultural landscape making up around 60 percent, and natural landscape occupying the rest of the more than 840ha site, which overlooks the ocean and has direct beach and lagoon access.
Roux said the new development plan meant both proposed golf courses would be replaced by vineyards and other agricultural activities.
"These changes are in line with the reasons given by Minister Bredell for turning down our original proposal."
He said the new development would be scaled down by half, with open spaces and agricultural activities now covering the majority of the area. The new erven will each be up to 1ha in size.
"We believe the minister and the public will find our new proposal very exciting. It will still open up huge opportunities and create jobs for the southern Cape."
The development would be called Hoogekraal Estate, and would house the new Goose Wines cellar in accordance with an agreement with golfing legend Retief Goosen, who owns Goose Wines in partnership with Roux.
Roux said they hoped to have the final approval settled before the end of the year. - Garden Route Media
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