CAPE TOWN - The future of the “historic” 6 Kloof Road building in Sea Point is now in the hands of the provincial Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport’s Independent Tribunal, which is expected to decide on the matter next month.
Heritage and ratepayer organisations have been fighting for the protection of the more than eight-decade old building which has been described to be in one of the most iconic civic spaces in the area.
The battle for its preservation started last year when a developer applied to Heritage Western Cape (HWC) - the provincial body responsible for protecting Western Cape’s built heritage, to demolish it.
HWC approved the demolition of the structure.
Sea Point, Fresnaye, Bantry Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association (SFB) Planning Committee member, Gordon Metz said they approached the HWC Appeals Committee, which supported their appeal that no permit for the demolition of the building would be issued without conditions.
The Appeals Committee further imposed restrictions on any replacement building including limiting the height to four stories.
“According to the National Heritage Resources Act, all buildings in South Africa that are over 60 years old are deemed to be of potential heritage significance, unless proved otherwise. If a developer wishes to demolish a building over 60 years old then he/she has to apply for a permit to do so to the Provincial Heritage Authority.
“Local community organisations like the SFB are invited to argue against the issuing of a demolition permit on the grounds that the building is of heritage and historical significance and is valued by the community,” said Metz.
The City’s Environmental and Heritage Department had also confirmed that the building and the site are of high heritage significance value and argued against the demolition or intentions of the developer to erect a skyscraper.
Stacy McLean, spokesperson for Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais, confirmed that Marais received an appeal from the developer last month against HWC’s Appeals Committee’s decision to impose conditions on the replacement building.
“The Appellant has now appealed to (MEC) to have the conditions imposed by the Appeal’s Committee of HWC set aside,” said McLean.
Marais appointed an independent tribunal consisting of three experts to consider the appeal.
“Relief sought by the Appellant is to uphold the appeal against the decision of HWC’s Appeal’s Committee and directing the independent tribunal to authorize the proposed demolition of the building without conditions to the replacement structure,” said McLean.
The SFB, which is a voluntary organisation, has put out an appeal to residents and the public for donations in order to fund their opposition to the appeal which requires the hire of heritage specialists and a lawyer specialising in heritage legislation.
Simon van der Stel Foundation (recently renamed the Cape Town Heritage Foundation) chairperson Ian Pretorius said: “We are of the opinion that this triangular site is a very important heritage resource, it contains the IIIB graded Fire Station and a IIIC graded block of flats. This historic heart of Sea Point must therefore be protected by ensuring that a sympathetic new building is designed for this space.”