On Friday, the Contractors – Alexandra Lloyd Limited – of the ‘Palatial Homes’ project destroyed and damaged pepper trees while widening the access to the site where they have put up expensive Town houses.
The Houses are owned by LapTrust and have been constructed on L.R No 6939/2, Oloolua Ridge, Karen.
On Thursday Morning, several trees belonging to a private individual on Oloolua Ridge were damaged and at least one large tree was bulldozed whilst they were widening a disputed road to the site. The Project Manager later claimed this was a ‘mistake as the bulldozer driver was not being supervised’.
A witness said that she pleaded with the bulldozer driver to await the arrival of the landowner, but he ignored the pleas and continued to try to push down another smaller tree.
When the landlady Maureen Leting arrived, the bulldozer driver still refused to await his superiors and when she bravely blocked the bulldozers access to one of the tree’s, he responded by dumping soil on her shoes!
Witnesses said one of the Chinese contractors present at the showdown that ensued on Ololua Ridge insinuated that the residents can’t do anything since the Town Houses they have put up have been bought by influential people in Kenya.
The residents said that in 2014 when the project commenced, it was agreed through the Karen Langata District Association (KLDA) that access to the construction site would be via Forest Line Road and thereafter through designated roads as supplied on a map by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA). The road being widened on Thursday did not appear on the map.
“Ololua Ridge Road is not a viable route to the site in all the project phases and the Developer commits not to utilize it unless otherwise agreed upon with the other respective relevant parties,” reads the letter written on August 27, 2014 by Alexandra Lloyd Limited and signed by Michael Madung, the project manager.
The disputed section of road is not a gazetted Public Access but is an easement on private land that was granted to allow access in 1974 to only two dwellings and to allow passage to Oloolua workers on foot to gain access to Bul Bul through the forest.
Residents say that Oloolua Ridge is not a viable route to the development, given that it is a narrow murram road that is privately maintained by the residents and that it struggles to sustain even the current level of traffic.
“To widen the whole 3.5 km route, some landowners would have to sell their land, and several were not in agreement. The Cytonn development project on the same road came to a standstill because they were unable to make the road sustainable for the additional traffic load” one resident said.
He added that the developers are trying to sell their Palatial Homes as falling within the Karen area to justify their 89M price tag.
The site supervisor today estimated that the development would likely see an additional 90 vehicles using Ololua Ridge.
“Much of this road is single lane where on several sections, there is only passageway for one vehicle at a time. Not to mention it is extremely difficult to turn out of on to Ngong Road during rush hour and during the rainy season the road sometimes becomes impassable’ another resident said.
“We are not against development, but first a developer needs to make sure suitable infrastructure is in place and viable, that the long-term residents are kept abreast of changes in plans via the various associations and are comfortable with what is taking place. You cannot simply bulldoze and bully your way through and act with impunity. Surely it is in the interest of the buyers that they are welcome in the neighborhood and not given such a poor start by the developers?” he said.
The residents now want the concerned authorities to intervene and to keep the access to the development on the new grade 1 Forest Line road.