GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
The ongoing growth and prosperity of a town requires long term strategic thinking and planning. Whilst much of this is the purview of the Administration, in terms of its Integrated Development Plan, Spatial Development Framework, Capital Expenditure Framework and network masterplans, actual implementation is based on partnerships with both the public and private sector.
In this regard the Administration’s Senior Management Team is in regular communication with parties looking to invest in the area, with a view to facilitating development and securing quick, integrated responses when larger projects are to be initiated.
INDUSTRIAL LAND (SWELLENDAM)
The Municipality is currently in the process of implementing the development of approximately 900 new housing opportunities in the Railton residential area. This project is being developed in conjunction with the Western Cape Government’s Department of Human Settlements, and will yield a range of housing typologies for the low cost housing market in the area.
In order to cater, in part, for the middle-income band in Swellendam, the Municipality has generated 10 new erven along Panorama and Coldrey Streets (Swellendam). All of the erven are well elevated, with 6 of the erven offering uninterrupted views of the Langeberg Mountain Range. The erven measure an average of 800m² in extent and are in the process of being serviced. Given the demand, the erven will be sold on auction and limited to one per person / entity.
At the upper end of the housing market, a private developer has generated a new private housing estate measuring approximately 5ha. Gaikou Estate is located between the ‘koppies’ just below the Langeberg Mountain Range in the northern sector of the town. The Estate comprises 33 residential erven with ample open space. The property is located in a stunning natural environment, with uninhibited views of the adjoining mountains. The Estate is subject to architectural guidelines and membership of a Home Owners Association. It is understood that the erven will be placed on the market, shortly.
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT (SWELLENDAM)
Swellengrebel Street exists as the Heritage Hub of the town, where considerable collective care is taken to ensure conservation of the national heritage estate. That said, there is opportunity for limited, sensitive commercial development between the heritage structures to provide and exhibit appropriate tourist products to visitors of the town. To this end two private developments are in the process of being constructed, each comprising 6 - 8 small commercial spaces to be filled with coffee shops, restaurants, gift shops and delicatessens.
Commercial Container Park (Barrydale)
In an effort to enable new entrants to the business sector, the Swellendam Municipality has initiated the implementation of a container based commercial development in the centre of Smitsville in Barrydale. The container park is located on prime zoned commercial land within the community, which will facilitate the incubation and growth of 8 - 10 micro-businesses, each to be accommodated in a space ranging between 10m² and 20m².
The construction of the new R13 million public library, located on Erf 389, along Station Street, has recently been completed (December 2021). It has been a comprehensive process, right from identifying an appropriate site, to surveying it and agreeing on the overall design and development. This project has been driven together with the Department of Public Works, which has made its professional architectural staff and funding available for Swellendam Municipality to deliver a top class project. The development of the new library has also opened up new opportunities for the use of the old library structure, thereby making available much needed office space for the administration - this redevelopment process is also already underway.
In an effort to facilitate the integration of higher level commercial and social services, and to also improve access for individuals who are less mobile, the Railton Hub Mixed Use Development was initiated. This project entailed the total reconceptualisation of the Railton Central Business District, which, to-date, had not materialised in any tangible manner. The project area, measuring approximately 2.65ha in extent was entirely “re-jigged” from a design, zoning and cadastral perspective to achieve the following:
- 2x Business sites (5354m² for the development of a generous grocery store and 595m² for a fast food / impulse purchase commercial development);
- 1x Group Housing site (4534m²) to yield 22 semi-detached duplex units for the Gap Housing market;
- 1x Public parking area (4750m²) to service the adjoining facilities;
1x Institutional Zone site (369m²) for the expansion of the Railton Clinic;
- 1x Transport Zone site (195m²) for the creation of a 4m wide, safe public walkway between the clinic and public parking area and to also provide improved pedestrian access to the Railton Community Hall; the creation of a correctly constituted road between Bontebok Street and the Railton sport fields;
- The creation of a new site (1843m²) to be shared by the two adjoining Early Childhood Development Centres for an outside play area for the children.
- An adjoining erf, measuring approximately 3500m², was also created for the establishment of a Youth Development Centre that would link directly into the Hub and the Bontebok Primary School.
The various erven are currently in the process of being put on the market for potential investors, or being transferred to the applicable institutions for short to medium term development.
The Municipality is in close consultation with a private project team for the redevelopment of the Swellengrebel Hotel. The site measures approximately 1.25ha in extent and is located within the Conservation Overlay Zone of the town. The project will entail the development of a purpose designed commercial centre with a key anchor tenant, a number of line shops and appropriate parking. Appropriate design parameters will need to be applied to ensure positive integration with the adjoining built environment. Traffic movement and pedestrian access also exist as key considerations. This development at the end of Station Street could well be a “game changer” for the town.
Small Farmer Production Unit (Suurbraak)
In an effort to stimulate and to integrate local producers into the agricultural value chain, the municipality is working together with the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development for the development of a Small Farmer Production Unit (SFPU) in Suurbraak. The SFPU will enable agricultural producers to bring their product “to market”, either for integration with the primary hub in Bredasdorp or to be sold directly on-site by way of the open-air market, which will look to attract local wholesalers and residents to purchase directly. Local producers can then also make use of communally owned equipment such as tractors, trailers, tools etc. The value of the overall physical development will be approximately R13 million. The selected site is located along the Suurbraak Main Road, so it has the potential to be a significant draw card for the area, and to facilitate downstream opportunities.
GAP Housing (Erf 2599) Swellendam
In a concerted effort to address the housing demand of the lower end of the middle income band, the Municipality is in the process of concluding a land availability agreement for Erf 2599, Swellendam. This property measures approximately 6.2ha, is centrally located and has access directly from Voortek Street. The property can be linked to the existing road and bulk infrastructure. It is anticipated that the property will yield approximately 100 freestanding homes and a mix of one and two bedroom apartments, to be accommodated in a number of 2 - 3 storey blocks, located on the lower level of the property in proximity to the Koringslands River.
In its efforts to facilitate the integration of the town, given the location of the N2 and the history of spatial development in South African urban settlements, the municipality has expended much time and effort to secure the vacant land located between the railway line and the existing residential area of Railton, which is owned by Transnet. After years of discussion and negotiation, the land is currently in the process of being transferred and a process will be initiated for its development. The property measures approximately 11ha in extent and will be developed in an integrated and participative manner, together with the local community. It is anticipated that the land will be used to yield a mixed-use development that would include various housing typologies and social investment infrastructure, such as tertiary education facilities. The project will be developed on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding that has been concluded with the Department of Human Settlements.
Plans are underway to secure land use authorisation for the erection of a new wind farm facility on a farm property along Divisional Road 01251 i.e. en- route to Bredasdorp, approximately 15km south of Swellendam in a REDZ (Rapid Economic Development Zone) area. The wind turbines will be 120m tall and 200m from floor to blade tip. The facility will be a commercial entity, comprising 24 wind turbines, which will generate approximately 140mw of electricity combined. To provide an idea of scale, an existing facility along the same road currently generates 32mw of electricity. The National Department of Minerals and Energy issued EIA approval in December 2021. This will certainly become a “landmark” in the rural landscape in the years to come.
Infanta (Erf 134)
The planning process is underway for the establishment of a new residential township adjacent to Infanta at the mouth of the Breede River Estuary. Current plans reflect a development of approximately 3ha of land, comprising 21 residential erven. The project is a private initiative launched by the landowner. The project team is currently involved in the EIA process with provincial authorities. The Swellendam Municipality is also closely involved as it has to ensure compliance with both its own By-Laws and national legislation, particularly as it relates to sustainable environmental management. Moreover, the Municipality must ensure that this type of development, located so far from its operational base, can be managed and serviced in a sustainable manner over the long term.
The Pont (Malgas)
The Swellendam Municipality is responsible for the ongoing maintenance and operation of three public launch sites along the Breede River Estuary. To this end the municipality is looking to take transfer of a property located adjacent to the Malgas Pont, in order for processes to be initiated for the formal establishment of a public launch site as well as to make suitable provision for parking and recreational facilities. This promises to be an exciting initiative as it will help facilitate the Pont as a tourist attraction and destination in the region.
In the interest of proactive land use planning, the Swellendam Municipality recently subdivided and rezoned a 3.4ha portion of vacant commonage land adjacent to VRT Pitt Primary School in Railton for future education purposes. The municipality is currently in communication with the Department of Education to establish a timeline as to the future utilisation of the property.
The Swellendam Municipality is in the fortunate position to have substantial landholdings, particularly commonage which is quite extensive and well located. In terms of ownership it is Council which is the custodian of said land (on behalf of residents) and all decisions in relation to its use and development is subject to Council consideration and resolution.
In light of the above the Administration takes great care in ensuring that the land in its control is managed, maintained and developed in the best interest of its citizens. Much of the land is therefore allocated to social and service infrastructure such as school sites, subsidised housing projects, solid waste disposal facilities, water purification units, reservoirs, airstrips, small scale farmers etc. Some of this land is also set aside to be developed and alienated at market related prices to further stimulate the economy, create job opportunities and generate a financial return for the Administration.
In terms of acquiring municipal land there is a very defined process to be followed, which is strictly controlled in terms of the various legislation. The key points in this regard is that all proposals must be considered by Council (as the landowner) in the first instance. It is ultimately Council which decides whether it will sell a parcel of land or not, based on a variety of factors, including the recommendations put to it by its senior management team.
All land to be alienated is sold at market related prices, based on valuations received from two independent valuers. Land which is to be alienated for bone fide social services may however be released at a lower rate. It is noted that most municipal property transactions are subject to legal processes, such as subdivision, rezoning, transfer and registration, the cost of which is to be borne by the applicant.
The responsibility to administer buildings and land in Municipal ownership vests with the Director Corporate Services, who is the first point of contact in all related property transactions, which includes leases and various encroachment agreements.
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