Heritage Review Committee Rules in Favour of Bo-Kaap
The independent review committee which considers appeals on heritage matters has upheld a decision to refuse permission for the demolition of a building in Bo-Kaap. The outcome of the appeal can be described as a victory for people with a long history of living in this historic part of Cape Town.
Heritage Western Cape (HWC) considers applications which have an impact on heritage resources in the province. Appeals against HWC decisions can be made to Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Dr Ivan Meyer. Dr Meyer has appointed an independent review committee to provide him with expert advice in this regard.
The original application for a demolition order in respect of buildings situated at 248 Buitengracht Street (Erf 4150 in Bo-Kaap) was lodged by Aikman Associates on behalf of the developer Finishing Touch. HWC turned down the application on the grounds that the demolition would destroy the aesthetic and architectural coherence of the streetscape created by the dwellings in the block.
On appeal, the review committee upheld HWC’s decision. The committee expressed the opinion that the demolition of the main dwelling would destroy the streetscape and irreversibly damage the built environment and the sense of place in the area known as Bo-Kaap. The decision is a clear signal that Dr Meyer and the authorities under his control are serious about protecting the rich heritage of the Western Cape and historic neighbourhoods such as Bo-Kaap.