Wrecking ball to Somerset

2015-06-16 06:01

About 35 buildings have been earmarked for demolition in the development of the Somerset precinct.

This is part of the provincial government’s plan to redevelop the precinct.

The Helen Bowden Nurses Home site is the first of four parcels of land in the Somerset precinct to be released for development.

The empty home on this site, situated next to Fort Wynyard and the Green Point common, is currently zoned as public open space. It will be demolished to make way for a 14-storey development which will include retail, office and residential space.

The majority of buildings surrounding the site are historic buildings and warehouses of five floors or less, Green Point Ratepayers’ Association spokesperson Luke Stevens previously told People’s Post (“Making space for progress”, 3 April 2014).

“Fort Wynyard, with its heritage-protected viewing arc, lies immediately behind the site. The visual insult of one or more buildings of 14 floors will effectively blockade Fort Wynyard, if not also the stadium. The proposal’s disregard for an interface beyond the site edge at the north and west corners risks permanently excising another entire chunk of land from the remainder of Green Point common,” he says.

Noteworthy buildingsLand rights have already been secured for the property, including the title and subdivision, says Siphesihle Dube, spokesperson for provincial minister of public works Donald Grant. A rezoning application will be submitted in August.

Only five of the buildings which have been proposed for demolition have a heritage grading of 3B or 3C, says Dube.

“Of the buildings indicated, five buildings have been assigned a heritage grading of some or limited heritage significance,” he says.

However, various other noteworthy buildings will be incorporated into the development, Dube says, including the Old Somerset Hospital (north block), the Victoria Nurses Home, the Old City Hospital, the Old Mortuary, the Cape Medical Museum, the hospital workshops, some of the old City Hospital wards and the dispensary.

“These buildings, or elements thereof, will be renovated to heritage specification and either the future surrounding development set back from these buildings or, where only parts of such buildings require preservation, adaptive reuse will have these building elements incorporated into parts of the new development,” he says.

Increased heritage grading was suggested for a number of the properties on the site in a recent heritage impact assessment report and demolition was supported for various structures considered to have little heritage value.

The Ratepayers’ Association has since requested a site visit to view nine of the listed buildings which are recommended for demolition.

The Association declined to comment further until after this site visit

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