Cape Town – A big housing development on the historic Altydgedacht wine farm has raised the ire of heritage conscious Durbanville residents.
VDMV Property Holdings (Pty) Ltd has proposed a mixed-use development on portion 18 of farm 276 consisting of 1 233 housing units.
The proposed development would include commercial land uses, residential units, 3-storey units and retirement units.
The piece of land covers 260.25 hectares and is located off Tygerberg Valley Road, East of Tygerberg Hills and at the edge of the urban area of Durbanville.
Some of the concerns raised by the Durbanville Heritage Society were about the historic graveyards on the farm, its buildings, and the future of the farm workers.
There are currently 15 families on the farm and Ubuntu Rural Youth and Women Co-ordinator Wendy Pekeur said the owners were in the process of engaging with them.
The Simon van der Stel Foundation said it was not supporting the development as it had jumped the urban edge and urbanises heritage agricultural areas. The foundation said it was against the urbanisation of heritage farms.
Foundation chairperson Ian Pretorius said the Durbanville Inner Valley comprises the historic farms D’Aria, Nitída, Maastricht, Bloemendal, Morgenster and Altydgedacht. He said this cultural landscape, consisting of historic Werf clusters along the river, surrounded by the dominance of agriculture, had been identified by the City as worthy of heritage protection.
He said the foundation did not support the loss of any agricultural land within this heritage valley. He said each of these original farms retains a werf cluster that includes early fabric and some landmark landscape features.
“This trend of wanting to develop historical farms is very disturbing and the foundation does not support it.
“We recently objected to a development proposal in the same unique heritage valley at the D’Aria wine estate,” he said.
Pretorius said the proposal would have an unacceptable negative heritage impact on a significant rural landscape.
“As agriculture is the single entity that ensures the unique character of this area, it is the opinion of this foundation that the land use right of agriculture must remain.
“Appropriate development and activities in agricultural areas such as heritage tourism, eco-tourism, alternative agricultural opportunities, and agro-industry should be supported but not urban development,” he said.
He said the proposal was also not in line with the Durbanville Inner Valley Initiative that, among others, seeks to restore the economic feasibility of farming, enhance its environmental integrity, introduce a balanced organic settlement pattern and promote destination tourism.
The first draft basic assessment report is currently out for the first public participation and residents have been called to register as interested and affected parties before December 15 to comment.
The City was approached for comment and requested “sufficient time to respond”.