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The approval of three key development plans by the City of Johannesburg council last Thursday is expected to accelerate its objective of creating a spatially just city.
This is according to Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Development Planning in Johannesburg, Councillor Funzela Ngobeni.

The Balfour Park, Milpark and Wemmer Pan Precincts were identified as priority precincts in the Louis Botha, Empire-Perth and Turffontein Development Corridors, respectively. Urban Development and Urban Design Frameworks were commissioned to clearly define the development vision and guidelines for the respective precincts, which have since been approved and adopted as Council Policy as of 27 October 2016.

MMC Ngobeni says, "the above precincts are aligned to the current administration's 10-point plan, announced by Mayor Herman Mashaba in September, to speed up service delivery to residents.

"Part of this (10-point) plan is that we run a responsive and pro-poor government, allowing the city to simultaneously work on reversing the spatial legacy of apartheid, whilst creating conducive environment that will attract jobs and create investment".

"It's our responsibility as a City to ensure that our poor residents, living in far-flung townships, have an opportunity to come live closer to work opportunities, public transport and social amenities." Ngobeni said.

• A transformed Milpark is expected to cater to and welcome people of diverse demographics, including a 66% increase in employment (5630 jobs) over 15 years, affordable and quality housing, and accessible amenities.

Milpark could accumulate the following possible comparative advantages:

1) Institutional based businesses (schools, colleges and universities);

2) Research & Development (R&D) based businesses which compliment various institution and/or training facilities;

3) Film and video based companies which are supported by various institutions; and

4) A trendy commercial hub.

The central land use principles that are to be promoted in Milpark provide a range of residential development with a mix of types and tenures geared to various income groups. As part of the implementation strategy, the Milpark Urban Development Framework identifies possible residential developments including the redevelopment of the Telkom Richmond Depot. This is a project that could typically be implemented by JOSHCO. JOSCHO's sole purpose is to provide affordable and quality rental housing to those households earning between R2000.00 – R7500.00 per month. The property formed part of the acquisition list submitted to Joburg Property Company to be redeveloped as a new mixed-use residential/retail development.

• The redevelopment of Wemmer Pan, which represents one of the City's largest sports and recreational precincts, will help establish a strong transit-oriented and mixed-use space. Central to the vision for Wemmer Pan is a high quality urban environment with well-developed hard and soft public spaces, such as Pioneers Park and the water's edge will form an integral part of the Precinct development. These public spaces are important because of the key role they will play in encouraging physical activity, while also promoting community cohesion.

Areas along and around Turf Road will function as the precinct's economic development anchor, paving the way for the creation of special places that will accommodate informal traders, while an improved water's edge will attract restaurants and other small businesses. The Wemmer Pan precinct has also been identified as one of the City's flagship sustainable human settlement project area, as it will provide a significant component of housing in a strategic location.

• Finally, the development of Balfour Park precinct aims to transform the area from a low-density residential suburb, into a space with a focus on a compact, mixed-use, walkable urban environment, supported by civic spaces and amenities that can leverage both large scale and inclusionary investment opportunities in a highly liveable environment.

The role of the Balfour Park precinct within the Louis Botha Development corridor is pro-poor in that it aims to create a high density residential node, providing quality urban living for various income groups, but specifically within the "affordable housing" market. This means that the area will be more accessible and affordable for people who could previously not afford to live there.

The Precinct Plan aims to create economic opportunities in the area through establishing a hub for emerging businesses and urban manufacturing in an affordable, good quality urban environment. This means more employment opportunities for people in informal settlements like Alexandra. The Precinct Plan also aims to establish a social cluster providing access to excellent quality community and social services in close proximity to each other to limit travel distances and costs.

For further queries, please contact:

Ms Poppy Louw

Stakeholder Relations Officer

Office of the MMC of Development Planning

011 407 6695