WILDERNESS NEWS - Increased development and subdivision of properties in the quaint little village of Hoekwil could in the long run destroy its rural character, says a concerned resident, Richard Hutton.
It was for its tranquillity that he settled here seven years ago and he is anxious for it to remain that way.
"I am appalled by the developments going on in our village. Subdivision of erven, building of monstrous houses in eco-sensitive areas overlooking the Touw River, erection of ISP masts, and the list goes on.
"Owners and new buyers are applying to have building regulations waived to suit their desired development. One could say this is normal progress, but why should the regulations be revised just to suit the commercial aspirations of a few people that have entered Hoekwil with their new living criteria?
"In most instances the subdivisions and rezonings are for commercial reasons and Hoekwil is not a commercial centre," says Hutton. He refers to six new developments that are underway and a number of applications for subdivisions, four of which are on properties in Bosbok Street, where he lives.
Aiming to strike a balance
Chief town planner at George Municipality Clinton Peterson says the development proposals for Hoekwil are captured in the Wilderness, Hoekwil and Lakes Local Spatial Development Framework (LSDF) of 2015 and aim to strike a balance between protecting the heritage, rural character and natural environment that attract tourists to the area, while strengthening the local economy and enabling job creation.
"The area where urban development is permitted in Hoekwil is very small. The village core of Hoekwil allows for slightly higher density development to generate the footfall needed to support the local shops and businesses that have historically established there," says Peterson.
"The intention of allowing smaller subdivisions around the village core is to create a buffer between the core and the adjoining smallholding areas. The buffer area is bound by an urban edge. Smallholdings located outside the urban edge may be subdivided to more than three hectares to preserve the existing rural character."
He said the municipality will not allow the subdivision of larger smallholdings unless there is at least one hectare of developable area for each subdivided portion.
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