The City of Cape Town has refuted claims that they have not consulted with Crawford residents over the erection of a cellphone tower on Thornton Road Primary School property. Distressed residents of Crawford protested outside the Thornton Road Primary School on Monday to air their grievances over a cell tower that is being erected on the school grounds opposite the City park sports ground. A handful of people who protested over the cell tower said they had not been consulted.
Speaking on VOC’s show, Breakfast Beat on Tuesday morning, Crawford Action Group chairperson Trevor Jacobs stated there are no residents in the area who claim they have received any notification from the City alluding to the cell tower being built. Jacobs added they collectively feel they were inadequately informed of the tower being erected 10 meters of a primary classroom.
“When the City speaks about public participation they need to provide the particulars of that public participation process,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs added residents if granted the chance would have offered up their many objections to the tower.
“The location is undesirable, there are also conflicting arguments whether the tower will or will not affect the health of those in close proximity and in that regard we would like to err on the side of caution and suggest the structure be placed as far away from people as possible,” suggested Jacobs.
Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond confirmed the department had already given its approval of the tower three years ago.
“Provisional approval for the installation was granted in 2017 by the Western Cape Education Department on condition that certain requirements were approved by the Department of Transport and Public Works. In some cases, approval may need to come from the City of Cape Town,” she said.
However, the City said it had informed residents about the installation. A land-use application for consent use was submitted to the City in October last year and advertising via registered mail to surrounding property owners was registered with the Post Office on November 4 last year. The City said no objections were received during a public participation process and the development was approved in May.
“The application on this particular property was submitted by the applicant and the location was motivated,” said Mayco member for environment and spatial planning, Marian Nieuwoudt.
“The School Governing Body (SGB) provided the applicant with the necessary permission to submit the land use application. A copy of the lease agreement between the SGB and applicant was submitted as part of the land use application. The City complied with the requirements for public participation. No comments/objections against the application were received,” further stated Nieuwoudt.
However, Jacobs said the SGB serving the school is a completely new set of people who had not been informed of the land use application.
No official comment on the matter has been received from the principal at the Thornton road Primary School.