/ 30 January 2024

Right of reply: New Beachwood estate an example of responsible development


People often regard property developers with a knee-jerk scepticism and sometimes with downright animosity. 

To an extent this is understandable. Examples of careless and irresponsible construction projects are common. But that does not mean all projects should be viewed as reckless ventures that damage the environment. There is such a thing as responsible development and regardless of the misleading claims by a minority of activists, the new Beachwood Estate development in Durban North is a prime example of a responsible development.

Phase one will see a portion of the Beachwood golf course developed with 231 residential units for which detailed plans are being drawn up. The footprint of all buildings, roads and pavements will cover just less than a quarter of the current 430 000m² property. This will be a low-density development in harmony with its surroundings. The intention is to include a new nine-hole signature golf course in phase two, subject to approval from the respective authorities.

The project will see extensive rehabilitation of the ecological assets on the site, which have become degraded over the past few years. This is largely a result of the contamination of the mangroves by the polluted stormwater running off the M4 highway, severe erosion of the sand dunes and the thinning out of the dune forests as a result of unmonitored public parking and illegal occupants who live there.

Millions of rands have been allocated to rehabilitating the unique landscapes, which will include building sand beds to filter the M4 stormwater before it flows into the mangroves, relocating the car park and planting more than 1.7km of woody tree species to protect the fragile milkwoods on the dunes. The development will create a greatly improved natural environment.

It is in no one’s interest — let alone those of a developer — to invite people to enjoy an estate set on the stunning shores of Durban North and to harm the most significant asset of this property, namely its natural beauty.

Millions of rand will be spent on the construction of a new stormwater management system, which will resolve the occasional flooding that takes place on parts of the private golf course, which affects the entire area negatively.

A responsible developer also knows to include the community. Decisions need to benefit the surrounding areas, as well as Durban. That is why the development will see investment in improved public infrastructure, including the upgrading and widening of surrounding roads.

The new estate will present significant economic benefits to Durban North. This includes creating 1 500 direct jobs at a time when the province’s expanded unemployment rate sits above 50%. It can become a true economic catalyst for the area, boasting innovative residential architecture, as well as the conserved landscape it forms a part of.

The development will also increase public safety as a result of it being fully fenced and manned by 24-hour security. 

Part of being a responsible developer is to respond to misleading information and factual inaccuracies that might surround a project. Claims that “the city and the developers had not engaged with the community” are false. We have worked with residents through a number of channels and have followed every other process required of us by law. 

Fears voiced regarding increased traffic congestion are misplaced. The planned upgrades to access roads and intersections, as well as the planning of three separate strategically placed entrances to the new estate, will largely ease congestion in the area.

Suggestions made in the Mail & Guardian and elsewhere that the area’s sewage infrastructure cannot handle the new development are false. An independent study found that the municipal sewage treatment works has sufficient capacity, but is in need of substantive maintenance by the municipality.

Our approved plans incorporate the many inputs received from interested and affected parties, experts and some of the best environmental development strategies available. We look forward to now turning our focus towards delivering this world-class development and contributing towards positioning Durban North as one of the most beautiful and prestigious suburbs in the eThekwini metro, poised for further growth and improvement.

Gavin Strydom is the director of Beachwood Investments.