Cambridge to be free of ‘castles’ under new policy

Walls like the one in the picture above on the left make homes look like some of those in downtown Johannesburg, according to Town of Cambridge Mayor Simon Withers. He prefers walls or fences like the one in the picture on the right where everything is in plain sight.
Walls like the one in the picture above on the left make homes look like some of those in downtown Johannesburg, according to Town of Cambridge Mayor Simon Withers. He prefers walls or fences like the one in the picture on the right where everything is in plain sight.

In an attempt to develop a more open streetscape in Cambridge suburbs, the council’s policy would place conditions on new houses such as height and transparency restrictions on front walls and fences, decreased set backs and a minimum of 60 per cent landscaping in front yards.

Mr Withers said the policy aimed at stopping ‘the rollerdoor streetscape’ and ‘yuk’ developments such as fortified houses with high, closed-off fences that prevented passive surveillance in the community.

‘The general belief in planning and law enforcement is the best means of safety is having everything in plain sight,’ he said.

‘(There are people), who are in the minority at the moment, who wall themselves off like they’re living in downtown Johannesburg.

‘If you put your house behind a large solid wall no one can see if there is an intruder in your house. You’re basically giving them unimpeded access to your house once they get over the wall.’

The restrictions would also deter people from building swimming pools in their frontyards and create a more attractive neighbourhood.

‘Some of our streets look like crap compared to some of our other streets. It’s really a matter of bringing everyone to the same standard so the streets look consistent,’ Mr Withers said.

The Town of Cambridge Streetscape Policy is currently open for public comment.