Picture: THE TIMES
Picture: THE TIMES

Private-sector developers are to get access to land the size of 10 soccer fields to build affordable homes for thousands of families within 5km of central Cape Town.

The five parcels of council-owned land were unveiled on Wednesday by Brett Herron‚ the City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for transport and urban development. They are:

• A 3.3ha site in Pickwick Road‚ Salt River

• The 1.84ha Woodstock Hospital site

• Woodstock Hospital Park, opposite the hospital

• A 0.84ha site in New Market Street‚ Woodstock

• A 0.27ha site in Canterbury Street in the inner city‚ currently leased to Fruit and Veg City

Herron said the launch of large-scale, affordable housing on well-located, council-owned land was a momentous occasion. "Building inclusive communities through reversing the spatial legacy of apartheid is a key priority of this government. South African cities should break with the past where our urban form is defined by poorer families living on the fringes‚" he said.

The development sites were in the Voortrekker Road corridor‚ one of three "integration zones" destined for large-scale infrastructure investment to "transform Cape Town’s spatial reality".

Said Herron: "By prioritising dense‚ transit-oriented growth and development in this integration zone‚ the city seeks to create more inclusive communities with access to improved services‚ job opportunities‚ and affordable housing and public transport."

Another three sites in the same area had already been allocated to social housing institutions‚ and two had been earmarked for Cape Town’s first inner-city transitional housing projects.

Herron said the development of the sites "must also assist us in preserving the social diversity and unique character of areas such as Woodstock and Salt River in the midst of rapid urbanisation and rising property prices ... We estimate that‚ once completed‚ the developments will benefit at least 4‚000 lower-income households.

"More information about the sites‚ the strategic overview‚ design and housing typologies‚ closing date for development proposals from the private sector ... and the bid evaluation process‚ among other things‚ are included in the prospectus. We will issue the prospectus within the next three weeks‚ if all goes as planned."

Herron said he had already met residents’ and ratepayers’ associations‚ public information sessions about the plans would be held‚ and residents would have a say on rival developers’ proposals for the sites.

Mayor Patricia de Lille said the main criteria developers would have to meet‚ apart from providing social housing‚ would be innovation and design‚ green technology‚ and long-term financial sustainability. "We are looking for sustainable‚ integrated solutions for human settlements and bringing innovation into the plans with the use different types of building materials‚ not just bricks and mortar‚ the use of green technologies and ... water and energy efficiency."

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