The contested Deer Park Café site in Vredehoek. Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The iconic Deer Park Café is safe for now.

The environment and landscape committee of Heritage Western Cape met on Wednesday to decide whether to demolish the landmark in Vredehoek and build a high-rise block of flats there.

The committee decided to address certain issues facing the building and impose a clause in terms of Section 48 of the National Heritage Resources Act, which states: “A heritage resources authority may prescribe the manner in which an application is made to it for any permit in terms of this Act and other requirements for permit applications.”

But before they are able to do so, they require the owner and the developer to provide further information, including a visual study of the proposed building, as well as an urban study, which addresses the identified social, community and amenity values.

Café owner Roger van Wyk was elated at the decision. “We as owners of Deer Park Café and the Friends of Rocklands Park are pleased that the committee recognises the Rocklands Park and Deer Park Drive as important heritage resources.”

Concerned residents, the operators of Deer Park Café, and the Friends of Rocklands Park, have opposed the demolition.

The owner said that the landlord of the property, Liad Property Trust, was working with Signatura Property Development to build a four-storey high-rise apartment block with basement parking.

Van Wyk added that the committee was committed to ensuring that while the current building was not seen to have any heritage significance, any proposed replacement building would be required to have a sensitive response to the current building’s unique context.

“This would mean preserving the important relationship of the restaurant to the public park and taking note of the broader context: the proposed Heritage Overlay Zone, the relationship to Deer Park Drive, and Table Mountain National Park,” Van Wyk said.

Advocate Suma de Bruyn, who represents the Greater Vredehoek Heritage Action Group and other residents, said that their clients were pleased with the positive response received from the committee, which recognised that the Rocklands Road Park, Deer Park Drive and the Table Mountain backdrop were important heritage resources.

“The committee resolved that before it can make a decision on the demolition application, it requires further information.

“The information required includes an urban study addressing the social and community amenity value of the site, and revised submissions regarding the slope, nature and scale of the development in the broader context of the site and its landmark location,” De Bruyn said.

“This is good news for us and shows that the committee is serious about protecting our heritage resources,” De Bruyn added.

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Cape Argus