Some of the first houses to be built at Greenville Garden City
- First phase of 868 to be completed by end of 2018
Since its launch in March 2016, 173 houses have been handed over and occupied by new owners at Greenville, Garden City, the 767ha new town in Fisantekraal, Cape Town. A total of 868 Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses will be built in the first phase, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.
The entire development is eventually planned to accommodate 16 000 homes at varying economic levels that will include bonded housing.
Initiated by the nearly 100-year-old residential suburb developer Garden Cities, the project is a public/private partnership with the City of Cape Town, through which the government grants to beneficiaries of the BNG houses are administered.
Garden Cities owns the land, where an entire infrastructure, including 12 primary and high schools, an integrated transport hub and a welter of community facilities will eventually be built.
A further 297 houses are currently under construction and by June next year a total of 470 houses will have been handed over to beneficiaries, with completion of the first phase about 18 months later.
The biggest challenge to the Cape Town metropole, said Provincial Minister of Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikezela at the launch of Greenville earlier in 2016, is the estimated influx of an additional 700 000 people by 2030.
His view was endorsed by the Premier Helen Zille, who officially launched the project. She said ‘South Africa is not a place, for sissies, we have to roll up our sleeves and vasbyt – not look for the easy solutions. The irony is that the projects that do the most good are often those that are the most difficult to deliver.’ She referred to disputes that often arose from different interest groups that could disrupt or even derail enterprises.
The delivery of Greenville Garden City took eight years of planning, through many stages and changes. through a project team of building professionals that include facilitation, financial and legal support.
John Matthews, the Group CEO of Garden Cities said that the project had consumed his team over the past eight years ‘Eating, sleeping and dreaming Greenville, and challenging the status quo on BNG (breaking new ground) housing, to make it a means of true upliftment and better social conditions.’ In the process, 110 local Fisantekraal residents are involved in the work to provide the housing and local labour is 90% of the total.
The schedule is for 40 houses a month to be delivered, constructed out of innovative material, Benex blocks, invented in Australia and now exported back to its land of origin from the South African factory in Epping, where previously unskilled and unemployed local people are producing the product. Councillor Benedicta Van Minnen, Mayoral Member for Human Settlements said in her address that ‘A truly integrated, sustainable human settlement is being constructed, with all social, economic and transport amenities. This project is an example of how the City wishes to manage its residential developments going forward by locating future residential areas for all income groups in relation to economic and work opportunities.
‘The housing need is acute and, coupled with the highest urbanisation rate in the country, the City needs to bring in private and civic parties to enable us to drive large-scale human settlements developments. A situation where government alone is the key driver of subsidised housing opportunities is simply unsustainable.’
Greenville Garden City will run parallel with the company’s two other major developments in the city, Sunningdale on the west coast, and Pinehurst in the northern areas. Matthews says that Greenville Garden City is his company’s most important project in its 97-year history. ‘There will be a wide variety of residents from different economic sectors within the 767 hectares all of which will be recognisable as a Garden Cities development with the quality and aesthetics which that implies. “Residents will be required to abide by community guidelines and will be in no doubt that they are living in a Garden Cities suburb, with the high standards that we uphold.”
Greenville has been planned as an Integrated Settlement. While the building of bonded housing for sale to first-time buyers and middle income homeowners is part of the entire town planning strategy, Garden Cities understands the desperate need to house people from informal settlements and for affordable rental stock and Gap housing. The early stages of the development will therefore concentrate on provision of housing for lower income residents, being those in the greatest need.
Extensive liaison has taken place between Garden Cities and all affected residents and community and civic associations in the areas, and a Project Steering Committee has been established to keep all role players and Beneficiaries fully informed of the scope and effect of the development.
‘The full co-operation of all parties is essential in expediting a project of this nature. Eventually, Greenville will be a completely integrated community that will accommodate a wide cross-section of the Cape population,’ said Matthews.
The subsidised housing will be for occupation by households earning combined incomes less than R3 500 per month who qualify in terms of the Department of Human Settlement criteria.
Garden Cities Director Tony Marsh said that the planning in the BNG sector of the development had primarily taken the lifestyle of prospective tenants into consideration. Although the houses have similar footprints, the house elevations differ and are designed in such a way that the streetscapes can be managed and maintained while providing a level of diversity across the development.
Historically, Garden Cities has provided the entire infrastructure for its new developments and Greenville Garden City will be no different, and the planning includes school sites, retail developments, sports grounds and health care.