Stop sprawling all over my green, leafy suburb


Development is a fact of life.

The open veld where I used to pick little purple flowers has become a car salesroom.

And the stream that ran through it is now clogged with garbage and ecoli.

It is with a malicious pleasure I see it can’t seem to turn a profit.


Still, I know that development is not necessarily a bad thing.

I know that perhaps I can’t stand in the way of it.

Except that I can.

And with enough people standing next to me I can, just maybe, make a difference.

The road that leads to my son’s school is truly beautiful.

It is a trip back in time, with some of the city’s oldest trees arching over in a guard of honour and some of the most historic homes standing majestically silent.

I look forward to taking that turn every day and marvel that a stone’s throw away from the crush of morning traffic is a tiny slice of serenity.

All that is about to change. Urban sprawl is extending its insidious tentacles into St Patrick and Rose Roads in Houghton. Urban sprawl is one of those lovely terms that sums up its nature so perfectly.

No-one will benefit from this development but the developer. Everyone else will lose.

And the loss may be so slow, that it won’t be until you drive down the road and realise only stumps remain where the trees once were, that you’ll realise it was too late.

If business rezoning for this development goes through you can say goodbye to more than trees.


St John’s College and King Edward VII School have long been a buffer for the residents of Houghton against the inner city.

Soon these schools will be surrounded by office park upon office park. That is perhaps not a siege they can withstand.

They would be classified as inner city schools.

That is, if they survive.against the inner city sprawl from nearby Hillbrow and Yeoville.

These schools have stood the test of time.

They’ve weathered all manner of things and it’s up to us to make sure they weather this storm as well.

trafficFor parents like me it also involves the added inconvenience of even less parking and up to 1 000 more cars on the road every single day at rush hour. Bliss.

My husband went to St John’s College. I went to Roedean across the road. We wanted our children to have the same honour.

To have them taught to appreciate the beauty by which they are surrounded, the history that seeps into Sir Herbert Baker‘s buildings and to stand up for their right to want their children to experience the same.

With so many buildings in central Johannesburg standing empty, surely the developer’s money would be better spent upgrading and redeveloping those? Instead of destroying another residential area, they could help rejuvenate the city? But perhaps that would be too altruistic of them?

Please stand with me and help me stop this development. You can leave me a message here or even better pop over to the St Patrick Road Action Group Facebook page and just like it, or leave or name and a comment. Or just share this post.

I may not be able to save every single starfish, but I’ll do whatever I can to save this one.


11 thoughts on “Stop sprawling all over my green, leafy suburb

  1. Am supporting this cause with vigour. Residents don’t realise it’s the thin end of the wedge. Office parks mean fewer houses, residents will leave and the schools will be history. Not to mention the threat to the Wilds once one development like this is built, it creates a precedent. I’ve signed and got around 8 other signatures. Hopefully more will materialise soon. Keep up the fight!

  2. I agree.
    THANKFULLY in Edinburgh we have very strict laws on “Green land” and you just can’t build on it. We don’t have any huge sky scrapers either. Everything is still 1840 looking… I can see why you are Mad. I would be too.. x

    I guess this is Edinburgh’s “Wall Street”
    This is George Street in Edinburgh, where all the banks are.. Not changed a BIT in 100 years…

    I Am glad we work this way./
    I would hate a city where you couldn’t see the Sky..


  3. I sympathize with your concerns Victoria. I wish there was a balance instead of a quick road to prosperity. But we all contribute to it and it’s hard to know where to draw the line and pick your battles. Do we stop shopping at WM — there used to be ma and pa stores that supported the community. Or, do we stop shopping at Home Depot — there used to be community lumber yards and private owned hardware stores that were driven out.

    It’s the same with TV and politics — it’s all around. The developers know there are people unwilling to compromise their conveniences for a few trees not realizing how it compounds all over the country, as the world slowly changes and our lives as we know it.

    It starts with what you’re doing speaking out and giving voice to your concerns. But it takes a community of voices joining together to get some attention and it starts with each of us making a commitment.

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