Plan to keep heritage

2017-12-05 06:00

A formal heritage management plan for Simon’s Town has been called for.

At a recent subcouncil 19 meeting, ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock submitted a motion for the development of the plan. According to the motion, Simon’s Town is already a heritage protection overlay zone (HPOZ), which calls for the implementation of a heritage management plan.

The HPOZ preserves the heritage quality of an area by managing any development, the permanent removal of trees and any other activity that will impact on the character of the area.

Simon’s Town was first declared a special zone A in 1993, explains Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development, which was a demarcated area of special architectural or historic ­interest.

The Simon’s Town municipality was subsequently absorbed into the City of Cape Town. The boundaries for special zone A were converted into the Simon’s Town HPOZ when the integrated zoning scheme was introduced in 2013.

A heritage management plan would document the suburb as a heritage resource, its heritage values and management requirements. Such a plan is subject to public consultation and must be approved by the City, says Herron.

“The City may apply specific provisions to a heritage place or area protected as a HPOZ, which may be in addition or alternative to the general provisions, provided they relate to land use and development rules recorded in a heritage management plan,” he says.

David Erickson, Simon’s Town Historical Society vice chairperson, says it is “vital that the historical fabric [of Simon’s Town] be preserved for the benefit of future ­generations”.

“Simon’s Town has a unique ambience, which to some extent replicates the look of the naval ports in the United Kingdom, such as Portsmouth and Portland – high dockyard walls, the focal points of the old dockyard gates with the muster bell, occasional patches of cobblestone streets, glimpses here and there of naval storehouses and ships’ chandleries and the balconies in the central business area, supported on slender cast iron columns and with attractive broekie-lace decorations. These balconies were introduced by the Scottish architect John Parker, who was responsible for the design of many of Simon’s Town’s iconic buildings from 1896 to 1905 – including the British hotel, the high school (now Simon’s Town Library), the ABC building and the United Services building,” he says.

A heritage management plan is necessary to achieve consistency in the design of new buildings and during additions and alterations to existing structures, Erickson says.

“This does not mean uniformity; some of the great attractions of Simon’s Town are the idiosyncrasies: Cape Dutch buildings side by side with Victoriana, here and there a naval structure that has clearly been designed by the admiralty works department in London. The heritage management plan ensures that the requirements of the National Heritage Resources Act are recognised and embedded in the day-to-day management of our historical buildings and artefacts. Without that framework as a reference, the appearance of Simon’s Town would surely deteriorate and its appeal would be lost.”

A heritage management plan restrains the type of developer who simply wants to maximise his profit regardless of the adverse impact of an inappropriate design, Erickson adds.

“One of the aims of the heritage management plan is to inform developers, designers, owners and managers of their obligations to maintain the appearance of the streetscape.”

Although the motion submitted by Liell-Cock says no management plan has yet to be developed, Herron says that there are guidelines for the Simon’s Town HPOZ.

“These were annexed to special zone A in 1993 and stipulated special conditions for the management of any development proposals in the demarcated conservation area in Simon’s Town,” he says.


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