Locals vow to protect area’s heritage

2018-06-26 06:01

The Rosebank community is standing firm in their belief that Alma Road developers should respect the heritage of the area by building a design in character with that of the neighbourhood.

This follows shortly after Heritage Western Cape (HWC) reportedly turned down a heritage impact assessment for the development in a meeting held on Wednesday 6 June.

According to reports, the developer attempted to go beyond the community’s wishes and wanted a heritage assessment to be performed in an attempt to get results suited to their deployment plan.

The proposed design will be on the corner of Alma Road and Liesbeek Parkway.

The decision of HWC has left the community slightly rattled, as they say the developer has shown little interest in engaging with residents.

Hence they have vowed to continue objecting to the plan and have suggested that a new design be submitted.

Although residents are pleased with the decision of HWC, there is concern about the City of Cape Town proceeding to consider the current application.

William Whittaker, a resident, says: “We are hoping to galvanise the community of Rosebank to again oppose the development’s application at the planning department for heritage. We had over 200 objections, which did not go unnoticed at the Impact Assessment Committee meeting. People in our area feel very strongly about this development which will be precedent-setting for a proposed heritage zone.”

He says the originally proposed design was two duplexes in the garden of one house which, although it would negatively affect greening in the area, was still in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood, which secured the backing of the community­.

Another resident, Gill Lanham, adds: “It really does seem that the historical aspect of this section of Rosebank was taken into account. I am pleased with the outcome of the meeting. I am certainly not against development, and the original plan to subdivide and build two townhouses on the open garden, would have been perfectly in keeping with the previous subdivisions and buildings erected in the early 80s and few decades before.”

In a feedback report from a community meeting, published by a resident on Facebook, it was stated: “It is clear that the developer should substantially rethink his development plans to achieve a favourable heritage outcome. We are however stuck in an odd position where Heritage Western Cape has effectively turned down the development proposal, but the City Planning application is going full steam ahead from a planning perspective. Our concern is that if planning receives no objections and somehow Heritage passes only minor adjustments to the development proposal, then Planning will view the application as having no objections. This has to be balanced against wasting everyone’s time in objecting to what is felt should be a substantial change to the development proposal, which would then require new plans to be submitted­.”

Jonathan Hobday, chairperson of the Rosebank and Mowbray Civic Association (RMCA), says the RMCA is not opposed to development as such but it believes that the current proposal is ill-considered in many respects, not least in terms of issues like traffic congestion, overbulking and insensitivity to the suburban ethos of the area. “We will certainly be continuing to oppose the plan in its current form but we hope that common sense and some compromise will prevail.”

Mayco member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, says the City is obliged to process an application in terms of the planning legislation. Herron says the application entails consolidation and departures. “We are in the advertising circulation process and no decision on the application has yet been taken. The decision from Heritage Western Cape (HWC) in terms of section 38 of the National Heritage Resources Act, will inform the process and is running in parallel. The applicant has the right to amend the planning application to align closer with the HWC recommendation or decision, or may decide to continue with the current proposal.”

He says the City would only cease proceeding with the proposal if they are informed that the application has been withdrawn or amended.

People’s Post had been unable to reach the developers at the time of print.

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