Positive response to proposed heritage protection for Bo-Kaap

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Amid increased awareness around the complex issue of heritage, gentrification and land ownership in Bo Kaap, City of Cape Town has received over 2 000 comments about the proposal to include the area in a heritage protection overlay zone. Nearly all of those who participated in the public participation process agree with the proposal which is aimed at conserving the neighbourhood’s unique historical character and way of life.

The public participation process about the proposed heritage protection overlay zone (HPOZ) for the Bo-Kaap commenced on 18 January 2019 and the closing date for comments was 22 February 2019. Nearly 2 300 comments were submitted.

“The fact that so many residents and interested parties participated confirms that our residents want to be part of decision-making processes. I’m pleased that we could provide a platform for everyone to be heard. Local governments must do all they can to forge a close working relationship with residents, and I think in this instance we’ve succeeded in establishing a sound foundation for the process going forward,” said Mayor Dan Plato.

A report on the outcome of the public participation process will serve before Subcouncil 16 and the Mayoral Committee in due course. It is expected that the report will also serve before Council at its next meeting on 28 March 2019, if all goes as planned.

The HPOZ for the Bo-Kaap will only become effective should Council accept the report and agree with the proposal.

“We’ve received 2 298 comments of which 2 271 are in support of the proposed HPOZ. The officials are still busy assessing the submissions, but I can confirm that at least 640 of the comments in support of the proposal were submitted by residents and affected parties from within the Bo-Kaap itself,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.

The proposed HPOZ for the Bo-Kaap extends to the Table Mountain National Park and includes the northern green verges to the north-west of Strand Street as well as Buitengracht Street between the intersections with Carisbrook and Strand Street.

“I’m heartened by the number of residents and interested parties who commented on this proposal that the City manages development in the Bo-Kaap in a sustainable and considered manner to protect the area’s unique heritage. The participation period included a sector hearing on 9 February 2019 that was well attended by 23 representatives from community-based organisations and another 11 from industry. I want to thank residents and the community-based organisations, as well as industry, for taking the time to participate in this process and for their valuable contributions,” said Nieuwoudt.

The proposed HPOZ will have an impact on all of those who own property in the Bo-Kaap, in particular as it relates to new developments, restorations, and the maintenance and alteration of properties.

All land units within the City have a base zoning that determines what the land can be used for, and how the land may be developed. An HPOZ sets additional development rules over and above the provisions of a base zoning. Thus, development applications for properties within an HPOZ are assessed more critically, with additional focus on the impact that the development proposal will have on the heritage value of the building and site, and the area at large.

Over 600 privately owned properties in the Bo-Kaap will be affected by the City’s proposed HPOZ. The main purpose of an HPOZ is to prevent inappropriate development and alterations within an area of significant heritage value. The HPOZ also allows the City to impose conditions to the approval to ensure that the heritage value of the building or site is protected or enhanced.

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