The Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association ( GPRRA) is appalled by an appeal that was lodged by the owners of 8 Romney Roadand the developers, Signatura, with the Provincial Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport against the decision of the Appeals Committee of Heritage Western Cape in May this year to uphold the appeal of the Association and overturn a total demolition permit that was granted in March this year by the Built Environment and Landscape Committee of Heritage Western Cape.8 Romney Road has been identified by the Association as a heritage resource worthy of protection.
There has been a long process of attrition due the demolition of a number of old buildings in Green Pointand other areas of Cape Town that are cause for great concern.The cumulative impact of a series of these demolitions over time is having a detrimental impact on the character of the city, this suburb and irrevocably destroying its’ very soul.
The Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association is particularly dismayed that the owners of 8 Romney Roadhave seen fit to launch an appeal to the Ministry given that the Appeals Committee of Heritage Western Cape had extensively dealt with the merits of the Association’s appeal against the demolition permit. In coming to its decision the Appeals Committee of Heritage Western Cape had applied the principles in the National Heritage Resources Act and all the relevant provisions of that Act. The Appeals Committee also recognised that this Act must be interpreted in the light of the Constitution and the principle of sustainable development whereby the environment is held in public trust for the people, that the beneficial use of environmental resources must serve the public interest and that the environment must be protected as the people’s common heritage.
Mark Magielse, Co Chair of the GPRRA insists “The historical value of the building at 8 Romney Road is that its intact fabric dates to the early origins of the growth and development of Green Point and clearly illustrates a historical period in the evolution of Green Point.There is substantial local interest in the conservation of 8 Romney Road. The Simon van der Stel Foundation, the Habitat Council, and several interested and affected parties supported the Association’s appeal”
A number of conservation-worthy buildings that survive in the area all contribute to the context, matrix and fabric of the character of Green Point.The City of Cape Town regards the property as having high local significance and wishes to protect the property but does not have the delegated powers to protect it other than by provisional protection.Such powers have yet to be delegated to the City by Heritage Western Cape.
Similar decisions and demolition permits have been granted by Heritage Western Cape in Fresnaye, Waterkant, Vredehoekand many other suburbs. We the ratepayers of Cape Town are not being heard. While we have no objection to development, we strongly object to our heritage being destroyed. It not only impacts on our history but also on tourism.
The Ministry has given notice of the hearing of the owners’ appeal by a Ministerial Tribunal on 3rd December. The Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association intend opposing the owners’ appeal.