Sedgefield joins slow move­ment

Cit­taslow sta­tus has drawn keen in­ter­est in prop­erty, says agent

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

IF “GO­ING nowhere slowly” ap­peals to you, then you’ll be in­ter­ested to know that Sedgefield, be­tween Knysna and Ge­orge on the Gar­den Route, is now of­fi­cially ac­cred­ited as South Africa’s slow­est town, and with this new ti­tle is con­sol­i­dat­ing its po­si­tion as a prime re­tire­ment town.

Cit­taslow (lit­er­ally Slow City), an in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion started in Italy, has ac­cepted Sedgefield as the first town in Africa to be part of an il­lus­tri­ous club of slow towns in coun­tries the world over. These are towns that cel­e­brate qual­ity of life and di­ver­sity of cul­tures, con­serve and pro­mote their en­vi­ron­ment, and work to up­lift the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

The pop­u­la­tion of a Cit­taslow-ac­cred­ited town can­not be over 50 000 – Sedgefield’s will hardly ex­ceed 15 000.

Wal­ter Bakker, Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties’ area prin­ci­pal, says Sedgefield is al­ready a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion among peo­ple who are re­tir­ing.

“This ac­co­lade is good for our t ourism t rade and l ocal busi­ness, and the re­sponse to be­com­ing a Cit­taslow town has been pos­i­tive.”

He said they‘d been re­ceiv­ing calls from peo­ple in their late 40s and early 50s who wanted to re­tire to Sedgefield and were look­ing for homes to buy – most en­quiries were for homes in the R1 mil­lion-R1.8m price range.

One Joburg buyer was look­ing at a R4m prop­erty, and a Pre­to­ria buyer was look­ing at a R1m va­cant stand in the Cola Con­ser­vancy, said Bakker.

“What sur prises many fu­ture Sedge­field­ers is the ex­cep­tional value for money of p ro p e r t i e s. T h re e b e d ro o m town­houses, just a few min­utes’ walk from Swartvlei, can be bought for R680 000.

“Two-and three-bed­room houses sell for around R1m and mag­nif­i­cent homes with spec­tac­u­lar sea and moun­tain views can be had for R2.99m.”

Swartvlei is the largest lake on the Gar­den Route and you can ca­noe from the Sedgefield es­tu­ary across Swartvlei and up the rivers. Ac­cess to the lake is mostly from pri­vate jet­ties and on some ex­cep­tional es­tates on the lake’s edge, in­clud­ing two prop­er­ties for sale through PGP – a self-cater­ing leisure home priced at R7.5m and an “ar­chi­tec­tural dream” at R11.6m.

“For peo­ple who want to build their own homes, va­cant er­ven are avail­able at the best prices in years. In the Cola Con­ser­vancy, which has sea and moun­tain views and is home to a va­ri­ety of wild an­i­mals and birds, stands origi- nally mar­keted at R1.2m are n o w av a i l a b l e f o r u n d e r R900 000 and even lower. Other stands in the Cola Con­ser­vancy range from around 1 000m for a cliff-edge plot priced at un­der R2m and from R2.5m up­wards for a sea-front stand.

“Plots set slightly back but with scenic sea views are priced from R1m to R1.5m for stands of around 800m

Bakker says that for semire­tired peo­ple who want to keep busy – at a slower pace – there are some busi­nesses avail­able, in­clud­ing a sec­ond­hand book­shop priced at R295 000, a cof­fee and in­ter­net shop that at­tracts lo­cals through­out the year priced at R450 000, and a well-stocked cloth­ing shop at R350 000.

There is only one frail-care re­tire­ment vil­lage with a wait­ing list of about 200 peo­ple, so there is op­por­tu­nity for de­velo p e r s t o d o s o me r e s e a r c h about the mar­ket de­mand for such ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“T hese are peo­ple who moved here when they were in their late 50s or early 60s, who have es­tab­lished a new so­cial struc­ture and don’t want to have to move to Ge­orge or Mos­sel Bay.

“As a re­sult there is a built- in buy­ers’ mar­ket of those who have reached their early to mid70s and are in need of a re­tire­ment vil­lage, with or with­out frail care,” says Bakker.

There is a state hos­pi­tal and a Medi-Clinic in Knysna, 25km away, and also in Ge­orge, 35km away, and Sedgefield has seve r a l medic a l p r a c t i t i o ne r s, in­clud­ing den­tists, op­ti­cians and phys­io­ther­a­pists.

The town has three ma­jor banks and a wide va­ri­ety of shop­ping fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing a na­tional su­per­mar­ket brand, health shops, ex­cel­lent restau­rants and a well-known or­ganic ve g e t a b l e a n d f o o d marke t ev­ery Satur­day which at­tracts vis­i­tors from far and wide.

Bakker says potable wa­ter is no longer a prob­lem as Sedgefield has the largest de­sali­na­tion plant in South Africa, a huge as­set for an area which is sus­cep­ti­ble to drought.

“With a low crime rate and nu­mer­ous l ei s ure ac­tivit i es such as walk­ing, cy­cling, bowl­ing, ten­nis, twitch­ing, fish­ing, arts and crafts, his­tor­i­cal and drama so­ci­eties, it’s not sur­pris­ing the town is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar.”

C a l l Wa l t e r B a k k e r on 044 3431 287 or e-mail wal­ter. bakker@pam­gold­

CHANGE OF PACE: Priced at R1.18 mil­lion, this brand new two-bed­room house has views to the Goukamma Na­ture Re­serve.

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