Construction of a new mall in Gatesville has begun. Picture: Enrico Jacobs

They are fuming over traffic congestion and impact on small business that this new development will bring.

The development is in the process of being built on open land in College Road, Rylands.

The Rylands-Gatesville Civic Association said the City of Cape Town gave the go-ahead for the shopping centre despite the community’s objection, reports the Cape Argus.

This week the association hosted a community meeting to discuss this development and other concerns.

Chairperson of the association Sataar Parker said: “When we met with the developer we were told that it was going to be a village-style shopping centre. We had no problem with it until we were given the size which is 3 500m2. It is too big and will increase the amount of traffic.”

Residents were notified about the development and rezoning of the area in the middle of last year. They were given a set time to submit objections. Before Christmas the association submitted its members’ objections to the proposed plans.

Vice-chairperson of the association Ali Hamdulay said the city betrayed residents by approving plans for the development without having discussed traffic issues with them.

“Our objection was based on a 2005 traffic density study, but when the city approved plans for the development it based its decision on an updated traffic density study that residents were not privy to.

“If we had seen the updated report and were given a chance to have our consultants look at it, maybe we would be happy about the development. However, the city has been stalling in giving us the report,” he said.

Mayoral committee member for transport and urban development Brett Herron said the building plans were approved in February.

“The building plans were approved after technical comments were received from the city’s other line departments and after the rezoning and site development plan was approved via the land use process,” he said.

Herron said the civic association’s traffic engineer had access to the updated study which was assessed by the Transport and Urban Development Authority’s Transport Planning Department, in September.

“The new development is a business node along a local activity street. The revised Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) found the traffic levels to be acceptable for the local area.

“The TIA also recommended specific road infrastructure upgrades which will no doubt improve the broader traffic conditions in the area; to the benefit of local residents,” said Herron.

Developer Kantielal Patel did not respond to calls for comment.

Hamdulay made it clear that the community’s problem was not with the developer, but with the city.

“We feel betrayed by the city,” said Hamdulay.