BCM in court over city centre barriers

Legal battle to have barriers removed from Oxford, Caxton streets

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Two property companies have resorted to court in a bid to force Buffalo City Municipality to remove cement barriers they say impede traffic flow at the intersection of Caxton and Oxford streets in the centre of East London.
East London Property One and Fairvest Property Holdings have launched an urgent application to have the barriers declared unlawful and for the Grahamstown high court to order BCM to remove them.
The two companies are behind the construction of a new multi-storey parkade which forms part of their general upgrade of existing retail and office space in Deals House. The parkade provides 127 secure parking bays. The companies estimated they have, to date, lost some R1.6m in rental for parking bays and office space as a result of the closure of the road.
Fairvest chief operation officer Adam Marcus said in an affidavit that BCM had raised the barriers across the intersection of Caxton and Oxford streets.
“This road closure prevents any vehicular access to Oxford Street via Caxton street.”
The road closure in 2017 was purportedly meant to discourage the use of the portion of Caxton Street between Oxford and Buffalo Street as an informal taxi rank. He said the road closure was done without any council decision.
It had caused intense traffic congestion and created problems for those using the parkade.
He said the barriers and closure violated the National Road Traffic regulations and restricted access to the parkade.
As a result they had been unable to secure new tenants for available office space which included renting the parking bays for staff and clients. They had only been able to secure tenants for five of their 127 bays.
At a market-related monthly rental of R500 a parking bay, they were suffering a monthly loss of R60,000 on the parking bays alone.
It was estimated that the companies had also suffered losses in the vicinity of R1,59m for office space which could have been rented out but for the road closure.
The matter was set down to be argued next week.
However, the property companies’ lawyer Justin Powers said that settlement negotiations had resulted in BCM agreeing to withdraw their opposition. “They will consent to the order (in court next week),” said Powers.
In terms of the order, the BCM will have just seven working days from the date of the order to remove the barriers...

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