Over the past few years, a distinct shift towards simple, ‘green’ living has manifested in society. Developers have cottoned onto this trend with the result that estates offering eco-friendly, farm style living are increasingly coming to the fore.
Monaghan Farm situated just north of Lanseria Airport is a perfect example of this trend. The farm is the antitheses of the Tuscan McMansion orientated developments which have dominated South Africa’s propertyscape to date. Here, manicured golf courses and crammed living give way to wide open spaces, subtle, eco-friendly homes which merge with the landscape and an organic way of life.
Monaghan Farm is the brainchild of Prospero Bailey who originally owned the land on which Monaghan is situated. According to Robbie Kreser, Monaghan Farm’s Director of Marketing and Sales, the first seeds of the farm were sown seven years ago when Bailey decided he wanted to leave behind a lasting legacy for future generations. He decided his land was the perfect vehicle for this legacy.
The development was officially launched in 2006. It measures approximately 1 260 acres and will only ever feature 300 properties (residents are provided with a guarantee against subdivision in perpetuity) all of which will be loosely grouped into five separate yet distinct ‘villages’. To date, 90 plots have been released; 20 of these have been developed and 15 are currently under construction. Although the majority of the plots measure a generous 4,500sqm’s, other plots are available. These range in size from 1000 to over 8000sqm’s and are priced from R750 000 to R4m. It is envisaged that Monaghan Farm will be developed in six phases and should be complete within eight years.
In terms of the actual homes, each will be designed to “merge quietly” with the environment. Owners will be able to consult with ten pre-selected architects who have established a set of architectural guidelines. Emphasis has been placed on earth tones and only single storey structures will be allowed. All homes have to be approved by an aesthetics committee and must demonstrate passive solar design elements. All homes also have to incorporate rainwater collection tanks. Heat pumps and the use of other sustainable elements such as glass are encouraged.
Upon completion, Kreser says a mere 3% of the existing land mass will be occupied by buildings. On-site amenities include four tennis courts, a squash court, tree houses, outdoor decks which overlook the Jukskei River which intersects part of Monaghan Farm, a Montessori School, gym, stables, deli, restaurant and business centre. All major shopping needs can be fulfilled at Fourways or Northgate which lie a mere 15 minutes away.
Approximately 10 acres of the farm has been dedicated to farming organic herbs, vegetables and flowers grown according to BCS standards. BCS is an independent German based agency which certifies organic products worldwide. Through this activity, Monaghan’s residents will be able to enjoy a regular supply of fresh, healthy produce.
Says Kreser: “Monaghan Farm is unique in that the entire farm belongs to the residents. They will be able to will share the river, farming areas, gardens, trails and open spaces and the facilities will generate income for the Homeowners Association and residents. This concept is in line with the premise of creating a sense of community which we believe has been lost through city living.”
Monaghan Farm is also unique in that although safety and security is high on the agenda, the developers have realised that this cannot be achieved through state-of-the-art fences and alarms alone. Kreser says security issues can be largely be offset through the upliftment rather than the exclusion of local communities. As such, Monaghan Farm has committed itself to becoming a leading employer for the local communities and is providing a large off site health care facility, housing benefits and pre-school bursaries for these communities too.
Kreser says Monaghan Farm has met with much success and is going from strength to strength. “People love the idea of living in the countryside and being close to nature without having to sacrifice the convenience of modern living. Moreover, Monaghan Farm affords people the opportunity to breathe and get back to their roots.”