Durban North property owners worried by golf course plan

Durban North property owners worried by golf course plan

Worried Durban North homeowners have accused Durban Country Club trustees of using 'smoke-and-mirrors tactics' and failing to explain the full impact of a proposed housing development at the Beachwood Golf Course in the upmarket coastal suburb.

Last week, homeowners from Fairways - which flanks the seaside course - met to hear what progress had been made to clear up their concerns over a multimillion-rand housing plan mooted by the Durban Country Club earlier this year.

The club, which owns the Beachwood Golf Course, has proposed a 19-site housing development at the location in an attempt to offset a R45 million debt which was incurred after a R60m refurbishment before the 2010 World Cup failed to boost business.

The residents said that, while they supported the development in principle, they wanted to ensure it did not affect the value of their properties and bar the public, including fishermen, from gaining access to Virginia Beach.

They said at the meeting that they also wanted a written assurance from the club that no further development was planned once the proposed sites were sold and developed.

They agreed unanimously that they would block the closure of the access road to Virginia beach that runs through the golf course.

Neil Lamble, who was tasked by the residents to meet the Durban Country Club, said the club had failed to answer any of the residents' questions.

'We sent them 26 questions in writing. They did not answer one. They told us that if we block this development, they would have to put the land up for sale to the highest bidder.

'We also asked them to give us an assurance in writing that there would be no further development. They refused to give us that assurance.'
Country Club chairman Richard Pemberton said the development at the Beachwood Golf Course was central to a plan to rescue the golf facility.

'We have told members and residents repeatedly what we are doing. If they block the development, we will be forced to sell the whole place to the highest bidder. Our aim is to preserve the course and raise some money.'
He said they could not give an assurance there would be no further development at the site.

Pemberton said that closing the beach access road was not pivotal to the plans, but would be an environmentally responsible decision.

He added that, while they had yet to get the go-ahead for the plans from members, the application for the environmental impact assessment was under way and demand for the proposed sites was high.

The Mercury

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Denny Crane

Denny Crane
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