Cowies Hill residents are taking the concept of estate living to a whole new level. In a bid to offer homeowners the security, convenience and dedication of upmarket estate living, without losing the freedom and character of an organically created residential community, the Cowies Hill Estate initiative was launched.
What this proposal plans to give the Cowies Hill community is far-reaching and empowering. It follows along the lines of similar highly successful Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP) models instituted across the country and locally in areas such as Ballito and Umhlanga. The main elements addressed in the Cowies Hill Estate proposal are: effective, dedicated security and community upliftment.
On the security front, the strategy aims to equip the Cowies Hill community with extensive security measures, usually the preserve of large, gated estates. The model identifies five key elements in its proposal. It plans to provide three mobile units to exclusively patrol the area 24 hours a day, with an average response time of 180 seconds. It makes provision for the creation of a dedicated control room manned 24/7 to oversee, monitor and coordinate responses. The control room will also monitor live feeds from the 50 cameras that are expected to be installed. Finally, the proposal also plans to install 13 cameras equipped with licence plate recognition technology. These security measures are intensive and substantial. Their purpose defined and focussed to empower homeowners to be and to feel safer.
Committee member, Barry East, is an enthusiast and dedicated proponent of the initiative. He explains that by introducing the Cowies Hill Estate plan, residents gain a community upliftment strategy that "is financially viable, sustainable and delivers value back in the form of security and increased property valuation."
However, it plans to go even further. It is offering its residential community a security detail who will also take on the role of precinct monitors. This means that staff not only patrol for security reasons, they also log any community issues with the control room for further actioning. In real terms, this could entail pothole problems, water or electrical issues and park and green area maintenance. The focus on improving and maintaining the beauty of the suburb is underpinned by the "broken window theory" - the idea that if an area is well-maintained and cared for, it discourages crime. In this way, preserving the aesthetics of the suburb supports the overarching aim of safeguarding the community.
According to East, the proposal is on course to be rolled out in the near future. Under refactored boundaries, they only require 40 additional homes to sign up as of June 2019, meaning things are looking up for the community of Cowies Hill. East urges any residents who haven't signed up yet to become "a part of a proactive model to find a sustainable solution". He calls the Cowies Hill Estate "a very exciting and necessary step". And he is not alone in his thinking.
Cowies Hill resident, Debbie Reynolds, calls it "a no brainer." As a longtime neighbourhood patroller, Reynolds was "very excited at the prospect of the Cowies Hill Estate". She felt strongly that it was time for "a professional and sustainable model", to take over from the overworked patrol volunteers. Reynolds believes that the project will not only play a vital role in securing the neighbourhood but will also lead to increased property values and further unite the community.
Her thoughts are echoed by fellow resident Brenda Johnston who feels the new initiative offers a far more comprehensive and financially viable solution than "going it alone". She encourages her fellow residents to sign up to the proposal because "the more people who come on board, the cheaper it becomes and the more [the initiative] can do". Johnston says she found the "more community driven" aspects of the Cowies Hill Estate proposal very appealing and was drawn to the concept of enjoying the safety of a gated community whilst "keeping our individuality".
Resident's sentiments are backed up by Scott Allnatt, Managing Director of Shelley Residential, one of the leading real estate agencies in the Cowies Hill area. According to Allnatt, secure estate living is fast becoming the preferred choice of home ownership. He reasons that the additional security offered in residential estates leads to a reduction in crime and provides residents with peace of mind. He explains further: "The knock-on effects of this is the increase in demand from buyers looking to move into the secure neighbourhood. This, in turn, results in the reduction in the number of homes for sale, limiting stock availability and ultimately increasing the value of properties in the area."
This type of community-backed effort to secure and maintain an area appears to be the growing trend for upmarket suburbs. With an eye to the future, Cowies Hill looks set to become the latest suburb to enjoy the benefits of the increasingly popular UIP model
For more information on the Cowies Hill Estate, go to: https://www.cowieshillestate.co.za