Bryanston idles without power
NEW property developments have all but ground to a halt in the Bryanston area because there is not enough electrical power to support them.
With a two-year waiting period for more services, property pundits say, Johannesburg’s City Power department has not done enough to meet the growing power needs of the area.

David Green, MD of Pace Property Group, says retail and office developments have “literally ground to a halt” in Bryanston as a result.

“Unfortunately there is no solution in sight as it appears it will take more than two years to rectify the power deficiencies,” says Green.

He says Bryanston was originally a low-density residential area with single houses on stands bigger than 4000m². But the growing trend to subdivide for residential purposes and the rezoning of residential properties for commercial and retail use has resulted in greater demand for power. “Essentially, that change in use has created the power shortage.”

But Green says that when the city council rezones properties it charges a betterment levy, which includes a levy for upgrading power supplies. “Although the council has been receiving these funds it has not reinvested in the upgrading of power sufficiently.”

Chris Renecle, MD of Johannesburg developer Renprop, says the group is “sitting” with a number of zoned commercial land sites in Bryanston for which there is no power supply, even though betterment fees have been paid.

“We sit with these sites and we can’t proceed with them. It’s not possible at this stage for City Power to give us exact dates as to when the power will be available. It has, for the last six months to a year, been saying it will take two years. But that time frame has not reduced.”

Renecle says all new developments have ground to a halt. Some Bryanston areas were getting power supply previously, such as the Sloane precinct. “But now everything has ground to a halt.”

Property economist Erwin Rode, of Rode & Associates, says the traffic in Bryanston has also become a “nightmare in some areas” because of the acceleration in developments.

“It seems we have little integration, with building permits being given without sufficient concern for the required infrastructure.”

He says there are other areas in SA experiencing similar problems to Bryanston. One example, is Parklands, in Cape Town, where the local municipality had to put a moratorium on new developments because of a lack of infrastructure.

“On top of that you have the road infrastructure which has become insufficient in so many areas,” Rode says.

Article by: Nick Wilson - www.businessday.co.za