Still no date for heritage space

2017-04-18 09:55

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It is still unknown when two suburbs in the city centre will receive recognition as special heritage-rich areas.

Planning for the establishment of the heritage protection overlay zones for Bo-Kaap and Vredehoek began in 2014, but no indication has been given by officials of the City of Cape Town as to when these will be approved.

The City’s heritage protection overlay zones protect properties and areas by regulating building works.

If approved, Bo-Kaap and Vredehoek will join over 30 such zones in the city seaboard (“Protecting heritage”, People’s Post, 21 October 2014).

The delay in approval is currently affecting around 20 areas, according to sources in the City who could not be named.

Representatives of residents’ associations have expressed their hope that the approval would be fast-tracked (“Heritage status to protect”, People’s Post, 9 June 2015).

But they are yet to receive any indication of when the applications will be given the green light.
Patrick Labrosse, vice-chairperson of the City Bowl Ratepayers’ Association (Cibra), previously told People’s Post they had been informed – in 2015 – that the delay was due to staff shortages.

“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 and Craft style,” he says.

These styles were often overlooked by locals but were regarded around the world as worth preserving, Labrosse said.

“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. 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 said.

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 explained.
In 2015, Johan van der Merwe, Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, told People’s Post an initial proposal for a heritage zone was being drafted and would be made available for public input.

However, when asked why the overlay zones had not been approved yet, and when they would be approved, he responded: “The City is looking into the particulars of this enquiry and will respond in due course.”

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