Heritage status to protect Vredehoek has an excellent collection of art deco and 1920s buildings which deserve recognition “

2015-06-09 06:01

As the Bo-Kaap inches closer to being declared an urban conservation area, City Bowl ratepayers hope this will bring them closer to protecting City Bowl heritage buildings.

The area will join over 30 heritage protection overlay (HPO) zones in the city. It is one of 40 areas currently under investigation for urban conservation status, including the Atlantic Seaboard (“Protecting heritage”, People’s Post, 21 October 2014).

The City’s HPO zones protect properties and areas, by regulating building works.

Patrick Labrosse, spokesperson of the City Bowl Ratepayers’ Association (CIBRA), says the Bo-Kaap will be proclaimed shortly, he hopes.

This has delayed the application to have Vredehoek also named as a heritage protection zone, as the area could not be surveyed at the same time as the Bo-Kaap due to staff limitations. “Vredehoek is rich in properties over 60 years old, which makes the whole area a good candidate for conservation measures. In particular, it has a lot of houses and blocks of flats in art deco or arts andamp; craft style,” he says.

These styles are often overlooked by locals but are regarded around the world as worth preserving, Labrosse says. “They are part of our collective heritage. So much so that a few years ago a major international conference on art deco properties was held in Cape Town.”

An initial proposal for a heritage zone is being drafted and will be made available for public input, says Johan van der Merwe, mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning.

The request to look at a possible heritage zone in Vredehoek came from Heritage Western Cape, he says. “Vredehoek has an excellent collection of art deco and 1920s buildings which deserve recognition and consideration for protection. They add to the architectural richness and are an important heritage resource in the City Bowl,” he says. The approval would mean that demolitions, alterations and additions to existing properties in the area would have to follow specific procedures applicable to a heritage zone, Labrosse says.

“CIBRA is fortunate to have a long-standing panel of professionals who advise it on matters of urban conservation. It has long been a major concern for CIBRA and the panel’s members that properties in Bo-Kaap and Vredehoek were the victims of incompetent, mindless or quick-buck renovations or additions, with the corresponding loss of built heritage,” he says.

“Once gone, it cannot be replaced. Every generation has a responsibility towards future ones: Urban conservation is part of that responsibility towards the built environment people grow in.”

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