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Pic: Radison Blu blogCapetonians are encouraged to comment on the City of Cape Town’s proposal to include the Bo-Kaap area in a Heritage Protection Overlay Zone. Read more below:

The Bo-Kaap is Cape Town’s oldest surviving residential neighbourhood and offers visitors a glimpse of a way of life that is rare in most modern cities.

The area’s historical character is, however, under pressure given its proximity to the central business district and its large-scale developments and traffic congestion, and urban renewal which is driving a high demand for properties within the Bo-Kaap.

The City’s proposal to include the Bo-Kaap area in a Heritage Protection Overlay Zone is aimed at conserving the neighbourhood’s unique historical character and way of life by managing development in a sustainable and considered manner.

‘I’m calling on Capetonians to get involved in this public participation process, and to tell us what they think. This is a pivotal time for the city and for the residents of the Bo-Kaap. The outcome of this process will have, for example, an impact on our vision to promote the Bo-Kaap as a heritage tourist destination; to assist the community with related economic development opportunities; and to protect its long-term sustainability as a cultural asset,’ said the City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato.

Residents and interested and affected parties should take note that the public participation process will commence on Friday, 18 January 2019, and that comments should be submitted by 22 February 2019.

‘Nestled at the foot of Signal Hill, the Bo-Kaap community with its narrow cobbled streets has been overlooking the old Table Bay harbour for nearly three centuries. The bright coloured terrace houses – known as huurhuise – have been captured in photos for as long as one can remember, and provides visitors with a rare glimpse of urban living where boundary walls are mostly absent and neighbours and children are still mingling in the street.

‘Apart from being the earliest established Muslim community in South Africa, the Bo-Kaap is also the City’s oldest surviving residential neighbourhood with well-presented, coherent streetscapes. The age and typology of its architecture is distinctive. Adding to this uniqueness are the social and cultural traditions and practices that are evident to this day where people interact on their stoeps and sidewalks.

‘As from Friday, Capetonians will have the opportunity to comment on the City’s proposal to include the Bo-Kaap area – the buildings, all vacant land and sites, and public streets – in a Heritage Protection Overlay Zone. I’m urging residents, in particular those who own property in the Bo-Kaap, to read the guideline document so that they can understand how the proposed zoning may impact them, and to submit their comments to the City,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.

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. A Heritage Protection Overlay Zone (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.

‘The main purpose of an HPOZ is to prevent inappropriate development and alterations within an area of significant heritage value, and it provides clarity to property owners as to what is allowed and desirable. 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. The City may also require the applicant to amend the plans,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.

Apart from the proposed HPOZ, the City will also consider a set of proposed heritage guidelines for the Bo-Kaap when applications for the demolition, alteration and development of sites and buildings within the HPOZ are received. The guidelines will assist with the decision-making process and consideration of the applications.

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, and includes Buitengracht between the intersections with Carisbrook and Strand Street.

The guideline document will be available on the City’s website at as from Friday, 18 January 2019. The guideline document provides information about the history of the Bo-Kaap and the purpose of the HPOZ, the heritage principles, how the proposed HPOZ will be implemented and managed, and the implications to property owners and potential developers.

Other relevant information such as frequently asked questions and answers, as well as maps of the proposed HPOZ, is included in the guideline document.

Apart from being posted online, the document will be available for public viewing during office hours at the following venues:

· Subcouncil 16 office on the 11th floor at 44 Wale Street

· Metro Office on the 5th floor at 44 Wale Street

· Table Bay District Planning Office on the 2nd floor of the Media City Building on the corner of Adderley Street and Hertzog Boulevard

Objections and comments, together with reasons, may be submitted before or on 22 February 2019:

· By sending an email to

· Online at

· By visiting the Metro Office or Table Bay District Planning Office

The City will also host a sectoral hearing at the Civic Centre on Saturday, 9 February 2019, where community-based organisations and the business sector will make oral presentations. Further details will be made public in due course.

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