ANXIOUS brides who have booked their weddings at Port Elizabeth’s exclusive wedding venue The Plantation can rest easy for now as the business will continue operating pending an application to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
This comes after The Plantation applied for leave to appeal against a judgment and order last month by Port Elizabeth High Court Judge Jannie Eksteen interdicting the business from operating as a wedding and function venue.
This was until it could obtain an approval in accordance with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s requirements of the Land Use Planning Ordinance.
The owners were also ordered to cease using its chapel.
On April 15, Eksteen found The Plantation was operating in contravention of its special consent use of the property which was approved for use as a guesthouse and licensed restaurant.
This was approved in 2005.
However, yesterday Eksteen granted The Plantation – an award-winning and sought-after wedding venue owned by Sarah and Ralph Dirsuwei – leave to appeal against the earlier decision.
Sarah Dirsuwei said: “We are happy we have been granted the right to appeal.
The Plantation employs 21 permanent staff and attracts thousands of tourists each year to Port Elizabeth, and as such is a major asset to the city.
“The Plantation has been voted the best wedding venue in South Africa for four years and has always strived to be a good corporate citizen. We will do whatever is necessary to maintain that.”
The grounds for the appeal include that Eksteen had erred in his decision that The Plantation knew it was not entitled to conduct business as a wedding venue and he had erred in finding the use of the property as a wedding venue was in contravention of the special consent and Lovemore Park Zone Scheme regulations.
The application against The Plantation was lodged by Stephanus and Marizanne Ferreira, owners ofa neighbouring property. The Ferreiras believe The Plantation is operating in contravention of its special use licence.
Stephanus Ferreira said yesterday: “We are disappointed … but we will stick to it and do our bit to ensure they abide by the rules.”
Ferreira cited noise pollution and concern for the animals in the conservancy where the venue is located as major reasons for filing the application.
A date has not been set for the application to be heard at the SCA. – Lee-Anne Butler