COMMON GROUND: Green Point Common with a model of what affordable housing could look like on the disused tennis courts (in red) and the current exclusive housing developments surrounding the common (in blue). Picture: Ndifuna Ukwazi/Supplied
Cape Town - The Green Point Common, an area earmarked by activists as a possible site for social housing, will be a heritage site if the Green Point Ratepayers and Residents Association have their way.

Chairperson of the association Jenny McQueen said: “This has been ongoing for years but was delayed by the previous mayor and the manpower to produce a conservation management plan.

“The common was granted to the people of Cape Town for sports and recreation. It has provided pleasure for many and still continues to, including the park which has over 10 000 visitors at weekends. This is a way of preserving it and keeping some green in our area, which is fast becoming a concrete jungle.”

McQueen said all the procedures with Heritage Western Cape had been completed. It is just a question of putting together the conservation management plan. She also disputed claims that the reason they wanted the area to be declared a heritage site was due to social housing plans.

“But obviously people make statements and are unaware of this and think it can be developed just like that. For the Green Point ratepayers and residents, it is more about preserving its heritage. This makes very interesting reading - as it has an amazing history for all the people of Cape Town,” she said.

Chairperson of the association’s built environment committee Stuart Burnett said: “The City made a similar nomination. However, there was a difference in opinion on the boundary of the site. The City’s nominated area was smaller. After lengthy debate, Heritage Western Cape accepted the area nominated by the association.

“The City challenged the decision, but since then, nothing has happened. At the Green Point Ratepayers and Residents Association AGM (on Wednesday) the members resolved to instruct councillor Dave Bryant to urgently host a meeting between the city and Heritage Western Cape officials to clarify the reasons for the impasse and to resolve them.”

Reclaim the City’s Woodstock chapter leader Deena Bosch said: “It all sounds very strange because that’s public land and it has to be accessible to the working class and not only the elite.

“I hope it is not their way of pushing social housing plans out the area.”

In 2017, when the initial proposal was made for the area to be declared a heritage site, Reclaim the City made submissions objecting to the proposal primarily on the basis that it could halt future housing schemes on the land.

Mayco Member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi said: "No housing projects have been earmarked for the area at this stage.

"The City continues to assess City-owned land, including in and near the Cape Town CBD among others, to determine whether some of these properties could be developed for housing opportunities – be it for transitional, affordable, social housing, or state-subsidised Breaking New Ground housing," Booi said.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt said the association in 2016 made an application to Heritage Western Cape for the Green Point Common to be declared a provincial heritage site in terms of section 27 of the National Heritage Resources Act.

Heritage Western Cape did not comment by time of going to print.

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Cape Argus