Penzance Estate gets special rating status

Keri Cross drove the SPA process.

Residents of Penzance Estate are “thrilled” that the City has approved the neighbourhood as a Special Rating Area (SRA).

During a meeting of full council meeting on Thursday April 26, the City determined the areas Northpine in Brackenfell, Beaconvale in Parow, Penzance Estate in Hout Bay, and Marconi
Beam in Montague Gardens as SRAs.

Penzance resident and Community Crime Prevention (CCP) executive director, Keri Cross, had driven the process, believing that something had to be done about the crime in her area after her neighbour was stabbed in his house by five youths five years ago.

Ms Cross walked door to door asking neighbours and residents to make an extra monthly contribution into a club account to safeguard the neighbourhood and so the Penzance Club was established. Since inception, 17 security cameras have been put up and are monitored 24 hours a day.

“The residents are very excited that the SRA has been approved,” Ms Cross said.

“We have learnt that this is by far the quickest SRA the City has ever had, with approval occurring in three months. I think that is because we had buy-in from almost all the 251 households in the area, with only seven objections.”

She said as a result of residents’ commitment to paying for additional security, the crime rate had dropped to 0% in the area.

“The fact is that most people want to live in an area which is safe for their kids. Even now you can see kids playing in the street, which is how it’s supposed to be. Penzance is an awesome community. Everyone gets involved to make it a better area. In 2014, we all came together to build a new fence at the back of the suburb, which has also helped to bring down crime in the area.”

On average, Penzance residents will be paying an additional R250 a month for additional security services from Deep Blue Security as well as other City services.

“I think one of the big advantages of being an SRA is that it will have a positive impact on property prices,” Ms Cross said.

“Five years ago, average house prices were under R2 million, but now they stand above R3 million in Penzance.”

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas had heard there were other areas in Hout Bay exploring the SRA option and could be asking Llandudno, another SRA, and Penzance for guidance. “I have not seen applications as yet and the process is arduous and takes a great deal of administrative input and of course, community buy-in. However, I would not be at all surprised if more of these applications were put before me and the City council,” he said.

“I believe that communities see the benefit in being able to receive additional top-up services for which they pay an additional levy to the City. The City has historically supported these public-private partnerships and these to an extent allow for communities to have more influence over the City service packages and suites that they receive as they see fit.”

The City’s mayoral committee member for finance, Johan van der Merwe, said once the SRAs are operational, the individual property owners would enjoy the collective benefits of an en-
hancement of their areas, along with a “shared sense of communal pride, safety and social responsibility”.

“In the end, these all translate into a tangible boost in property values and capital investments. To me, this is illustrates the true value of a partnership and joint service delivery initiative, as well as the benefits of focused attention – key tenets of the City’s new Organisational Development Transformation Plan,” he said.