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HISTORY

Initially designed as a traditional English country village almost 100 years ago,
the layout of the property which is now Kelderhof Country Village was approved in 1903, as the 'Croydon Township', but never developed until now.

Today, yesterday's dreams are made reality, employing the
original layout with a contemporary feel.

Between 1903 and 2006 plots were transferred to numerous individual buyers, but no services were ever installed by Council and no development by any owner could take place. The plots situated to the north of the railway line had limited access via an old farm crossing some way along from the towns itself.

Originally owned by Faure Wine Farms, who own the neighbouring farm, and the Miller family, the majority of the plots to the north of the railway line were acquired by the Kelderhof development company in 2006 with the vision to create, develop and market Kelderhof Country Village. However, scattered throughout the +430 plots owned by the developers were some 130 plots owned by numerous individuals over the years, which presented a unique challenge to the developers if they were to proceed with the development. These plots are commonly referred to as the 'unowned erven', for the simple reason that they were not owned by the developers.

In 2006 the developers made every possible effort to trace owners of the 'unowned erven'. Their strategy was to compile a petition to Council, with the backing of these owners, to declare the Croydon township a 'Special Rateable Area.' In simple terms this would have meant that Council would have been able to increase their rates charges for the township, thereby having motivation to install all the required services to allow the development to proceed...

However, Council declined to install services or open up the access to the town due to a lack of Council funds. The developers thus decided to install all the necessary services on site in order to proceed with their vision to make Kelderhof Country Village a reality. The developers completed construction of all site services above the railway line in April 2009, allowing the entire township including the 'unowned erven' to be opened up.

In addition to construction of services that should have been installed by Council, the developers have provided a security office and gateway for access control, landscaped open spaces and electrified perimeter fencing around the entire site. They have also constructed the Lifestyle Centre at the heart of the village, providing a coffee shop, swimming pools, tennis court and kids play area.

In short, the developers have added substantial value to the 'unowned erven' and once their owners have reimbursed the developer for services installed they will be able to build on their plots and become members of the Kelderhof Country Village Homeowners' Association (HOA) and thus enjoy all the amenities to be provided within the estate. They too will then be bound by the Constitution of the HOA which includes the payment of monthly levies. By arrangement, Council will not permit construction to take place on any plot where connections to services have not been paid for.

As time progresses it is estimated that the 35 'unowned erven' that have not yet reimbursed the developer for services installed will become incorporated into the Kelderhof Country Village Homeowners Association.

As of 1st August 2020, 523 homes have been completed on site and an additional 8 are currently under construction. The community is well established and has come to life and the dreams of the original town planners in 1903 are becoming a reality in the form of Kelderhof Country Village.

As an owner of a Kelderhof Country Village home you too can become part of the future history of this unique estate.

Background to Kelderhof Country Village and The Owener's Association

The development, originally known as Croydon Township, consisted of 955 residential erven. The township was originally outside the municipal boundaries but was later incorporated into the City of Cape Town municipal area. The General Plan for Croydon Township was approved in 1903, before the implementation of the Township Ordinance No 13 of 1927. No conditions of approval were imposed and the then developer was under no obligation to install any municipal services as part of township establishment. It was expected that the local authority would install the services in due course. A number of erven were sold and transferred to individuals over a period spanning 50 years, without any municipal services in place.

Since the township predated current planning legislation and registration of transfer had occurred, the development approval could not lapse. This presented a problem for individual owners who could not develop their plots. It also presented a problem for the City because the developmentrights could not be cancelled and the City had a responsibility to install services to the erven which had been transferred to individual owners.

The Local Authority received many requests from landowners in Croydon to provide them with services, and some services were subsequently installed in a portion of the township below the railway line. These services are very basic and consisted of gravel roads, septic and conservancy tanks and a potable water supply. Electricity was supplied by ESKOM but no street lighting was provided. Due to the availability of these services, this portion of Croydon Township became partially developed. However no services were provided to the erven located ‘above’ the railway line, and the Local Authority was unable to approve any building plans on these erven. It is understood that the City has obtained independent opinion from its external legal counsel, who has confirmed that the City has an obligation to install services to the Croydon Township. However, there is no obligation relating to time.

For many years a stalemate existed, with some properties having been sold and transferred to individual owners, and the majority of unsold properties held in the hands of two groups, being the Faure and Miller families. In approximately 2006 these properties were transferred into an investment company called Empire Earth Investments 17 (Pty) Ltd (“Empire Earth” / “Developer”).

After extensive discussions with City officials and approval of infrastructure plans, Empire Earth proceeded to service the entire development above the railway line, including 134 plots which they did not own.

The development was rebranded as Kelderhof Country Village, and an Owners’ Association (OA) was established via agreement. New purchasers of plots from Empire Earth became members of the OA. However, the owners of the 134 plots now owned by Empire Earth could not be denied access to their properties. Further, these owners have no obligation to join the KCVOA, nor do they have to adhere to the architectural guidelines stipulated by the OA.

All civil and electrical services, including individual erf connections, were installed at the cost of Empire Earth. However, these services remain under the ownership and management of the City of Cape Town. The City required that all the services be installed to the entire area, not just to the erven owned by the Developer. The Certificate of Completion for Civil Engineering Services to Kelderhof was issued on 17th April 2009. The services constructed by the Developer included construction of a guardhouse and entrance booms.

By installing services the Developer effectively took on three major costs: the first was the cost of servicing its own stands; the second was the cost of servicing stands it did not own; and the third was property rates (on completion of the services on behalf of the Municipality, the Developer was immediately charged rates based on the new valuation of the erven).

The Developer was however left with a predicament because a large amount of money had been spent in servicing the 134 plots that were previously registered before the KCVOA was established. The City did not accept responsibility to reimburse the cost of this infrastructure and there were difficulties in recovering these costs from the plot owners.

Since the roads are vested in Council and included brick paving instead of asphalt, the City’s Roads and Stormwater Branch proposed that the Developer enter into a service level agreement. In terms of the proposed agreement the maintenance of roads would be the responsibility of the OA, while the City would maintain the sewage and potable water services.

Numerous discussions with officials of the City’s Roads and Stormwater Branch took place to find a mechanism to re-claim servicing costs for erven that were previously registered. There was an agreement in principle about many aspects, including recognition that the township effectively operated as a gated community and the internal roads should be privatised. However, no formal agreement was reached and the Developer then embarked on a strategy of acquiring the previously registered plots via a separate entity known as the Kelderhof Development Trust (KDT). This strategy proved successful as the installation of services and creation of a secure estate increased the values of these plots exponentially and many of these owners were happy to realise their profits and sell to KDT. KDT in turn provided the guarantees to the Developer to settle these outstanding installation costs from the proceeds of a resale.

Other owners of these previously registered erven sold their plots individually, and since new purchasers wanted to become members of the KCVOA, almost every sale resulted in a settlement of the service cost and the purchaser becoming a part of the KCVOA. Currently, only 38 property owners at Kelderhof Village are not part of the KCVOA. Many of these are deceased or out of the country and the Developer is actively engaged in efforts to purchase these properties.

The significance of this background is that an innovative solution was required to resolve an otherwise intractable problem. It was necessary to rebrand Kelderhof and, in line with modern trends, to establish the development as an integrated village with architectural guidelines, common amenities and some form of security. Without these elements it would not have been possible to raise and maintain the value of property, and to establish Kelderhof with the quality and amenity that it currently enjoys. The previous township approval provided none of these advantages and the township itself was unserviced.

The streets were paid for by the Developer, and owners of previously registered erven now benefit from services that they did not previously have, and an increase in property values that would not otherwise have been possible. The principle of access control in such a situation must be looked at very differently as compared to a normal suburb elsewhere in Cape Town. Failure to have the OA and access control would have resulted in a non-viable project, which would not have been of benefit to the City or the owners of previously registered erven.

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