HABITAT BULLETIN 2016 / 1

HABITAT BULLETIN 2016 / 1

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                     

In this issue / In hierdie uitgawe

 

CONTENTS

 

Redaksioneel    / Editorial                                                                                             1

Code of Conduct for Conservation Bodies from Heritage Western Cape                          2

Citation for Dr Hans Fransen                                                                                         3

Minutes of 2015 AGM / Notule van 2015 Jaarvergadering                                              3

Update on Melck warehouse issue                                                                                 4

Update on Highclere                                                                                                     5

Proposed Cape of Good Hope Heritage Association                                                        5

 

 

Redaksioneel   / Editorial

 

This long overdue newsletter will merely touch on the matters which I should have reported on months ago.

Firstly, I received from HWC (Heritage Western Cape) a Code of Conduct expected from Conservation Bodies registered with them, with the instruction that we circulate the code to all our member organisations. I have to report back to them that I have indeed done so. Although many of our members fall outside of the Western Cape, I am taking the liberty of sending the circular out to everybody, since it can do no harm, and saves me having to send it out individually!

Secondly I include the Minutes of the 2015 AGM, which was held only on 7 November 2015. My moving during 2015 to Somerset West and all the effort involved with Habitat Council’s two impending court cases, have weighed me down to a point where I have not been able to cope with my regular tasks. For that, my apologies. The date for the 2016 AGM is 26 November 2016. We do hope that you will be able to attend.

The two updates concern the upcoming court cases, the first on the 18th century Melck warehouse and the other the fate of the vernacularly important Highclere at Blaauwberg, which is threatened with demolition.

The saga of the Melck warehouse is by now fairly well-known. What has transpired so far is touched on below.

 

Die Habitatraad poog nou om dmv ‘n hersieningsaansoek hierdie goedkeuring gekanselleer te kry. Die saak sal nog na verwagting hierdie jaar in die Kaapse Hooggeregshof draai op ‘n datum wat ons nog moet verneem.

The Highclere case is scheduled for 11 October 2016.

 

Laastens is daar ‘n kort berig oor ‘n organisasie wat in die proses is om te gestigte word: die Kaap die Goeie Hoop Erfenis-vereniging. Ons glo dat daar behoefte is aan so ‘n vereniging.

 

Marie-Lou Roux

31 August 2016

 

 

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR CONSERVATION BODIES

Circulated by Heritage Western Cape

The Conservation Body in as far as its activities in regard to heritage matters is concerned, is primarily governed by legislation, specifically the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the National Heritage Resources Act, 1999, Act 25 of 1999 (the NHRA).

Conservation bodies shall be duly constituted in terms of S25(1)(b) of the NHRA read with Chapter VII of the regulations published under PN114 on 17 April 2015.

The principles contained in Section 5 of the NHRA shall inform the decision making of the conservation body. The role of the conservation body is to represent the community at ground level in promoting the achievement of these principles. The members of the conservation body hereby commit themselves:

  • To behave in an ethical and responsible manner in the conduct of the bodies’ affairs.
  •  To consider all applications referred to them in with the principles of Section 5 of the NHRA and the promotion of heritage as primary factors guiding the decision making process.
  • To be objective and fair and only use the comments of the conservation body as a means to pursue a legitimate agenda.
  • To consider and comment on applications within the prescribed timeframe and not abuse the public participation process as a delaying tactic in order to prejudice developers.
  • Not to undertake to applicants to deliver favourable comments on their applications in return for gain of any sort.
  • To negotiate in good faith with applicants where an applicant wishes to do so, with a view to resolving issues.
  • To be truthful in all comments. Members are reminded that the provision of false or misleading information is an offence in terms of Section 51(3) of the NHRA, and that if they are aware that this has happened or is happening, they are duty bound to bring this to the attention of HWC.
  • To comment only on the heritage aspects of an application, and shall as far as possible motivate their comments thoroughly.
  • To consider each application on its merits. When deciding on whether or not to appeal a decision taken by HWC, this should also be on the merits of the case.

 

Citation to Dr Hans Fransen

 

Hans Fransen came to South Africa from the Netherlands as a young man in 1955. He recently retired after a career dedicated to the arts, as museum director and art and architectural history lecturer at Natal University, where he also obtained his doctorate. He has been active in conservation circles and is the author of several standard reference works on these subjects. For his life’s work he was awarded a knighthood of the Order of Orange-Nassau by the Queen of the Netherlands. He is a veteran of six Comrades Marathons and fifteen Argus Cycle Tours. Dr Fransen staunchly supported the HABITAT Council in the effort to oppose the office block being built on the 18th century Melck warehouse.

 

Hans Fransen het ‘n onmeetbare bydrae gemaak tot die skep van bewustheid oor en die belangrikheid van die behoud van ons geboue-erfenis. Hy benader sy bewaringswerk as ‘n verskuldigde rentmeesterskap om sy deel by te dra tot die behoud van ons kosbare natuurlike erfenis. Die Habitatraad huldig hom.

 

 

 

Minutes of 2015 Annual General Meeting of the HABITAT COUNCIL

            NOTULE van die 2015 ALGEMENE JAARVERGADERING van die HABITATRAAD

7 November 2015, by WESSA, Kirstenhof, 9:00

           

In total 28 persons attended, 13 apologies were lodged and 7 proxies received.

  1. Verandering van orde van program weens oorkonde aan dr Fransen

Weens Dr Fransen se verswakte gesondheid, is die orde van Program-items verander om die oorhandiging van vanjaar se oorkonde voor die jaarvergadering te laat gebeur, in plaas van as deel van die vergadering.

  1. Notule van 2015 Algemene Jaarvergadering

3.1            Verwelkoming en konstituering

Dr DW van der Zel, Ere President van die Habitatraad, verwelkom almal teenwoordig, en bied die verskoning van prof Brian Allanson, vorige Ere-President van die Habitatraad, wat ongelukkig nie die jaarvergadering kan bywoon nie, aan. Hy verklaar die vergadering behoorlik gekonstitueer.

3.2    Die notule van die 2014 Algemene Jaarvergadering word voorgelê en aanvaar.

 

  1. Sake voortvloeiend / Matters arising

 

4.1       Update on Melck warehouse: Report on SPELUM Meeting of September 9 2015 on Martin Melck warehouse proposal

           

Despite Heritage Western Cape (HWC) having given the application its approval in late 2010 (in a flawed decision which had been reached without there having been public participation), SPELUM in April 2011 unanimously turned down the application to develop a multi-storey office block on the roof of the warehouse. The SPELUM committee further recommended that SAHRA should undertake to have the warehouse graded and protected as a national heritage site.

Upon the owners in November 2013 appealing to PLANAP, the City’s Planning and Building Appeal board, in terms of the Municipal Systems Act against that decision, the application was again turned down in what they termed a ‘final decision’, and it was pointed out that the same proposal could not be submitted again. The Joint Evaluation Team expressed their objections to the proposal.

New application

A new application for development was submitted, this time for development within the Heritage Protection Overlay Zone. It should be explained that since the first application, the zoning applicable to the site has changed. Previously the warehouse itself enjoyed protection because it was in an Urban Conservation Area, as set out in the Land Use Planning Ordinance.  That zoning has now been superceded by the Heritage Protection Overlay Zone. The Heritage Protection Overlay Zone. which provides extended protection, not only for the heritage resource, but also for its “‘place’ /surroundings”.

HWC was party to a strange manoeuvre with respect to this second application. They allowed voting ONLY on whether the new application was “substantially in accordance” with the previous proposal, in which case it could lay claim to the 2010 approval. (That approval was in any case compromised since it was bestowed without the necessary public participation).

The situation is that what has been changed is that 88 % of the former fourth floor office space has now been attached to the northern end of the other three floors of the office block, so that its mass is undiminished, and still larger than the Lutheran Church alongside it. This bulk has a disastrous impact on the historic site. What is problematic, is that if the proposal is rated ‘substantially in accordance…” , it cannot claim to be a new proposal, and cannot be resubmitted. If it is new, it must be accompanied by a new Heritage Impact Assessment

The new application further claimed that the previous grounds for refusal had been addressed. This was not the case. 

Accompanying the application, the City’s Joint Evaluation Team (hereafter the Team of Officials), which had twice in 2011, and again in 2013, recommended that the proposal be refused, this time round in their Report to SPELUM in June 2015, recommended that it be approved. When the application was considered by the SPELUM committee, however, members were highly critical of the proposed development. They asked that the Evaluation Team revisit their Report to explain why they considered the amended application to be acceptable, and recommended that both parties be given the opportunity to address the explanations given afterwards.

SPELUM considered the application again in July 2015, after undertaking a site visit. The vice chair of the SPELUM committee expressed her strong disapproval of the proposal, and of the Supplemental Report the Team had produced, which did not address their concerns. The committee repeated their previous recommendations.

On 9 September 2015, SPELUM, with one abstention, voted unanimously against approving the application to develop in the Heritage Protection Overlay Zone.

These three refusals are of great significance, since they reinforce the unique place this rare 18th century architectural and historic complex holds amongst our national heritage resources.

It is important to note that both the preceding meetings (by SPELUM and PLANAP) had requested that the City’s Evaluation Team of Officials be required to expand on their initial report and subsequent Supplemental Report, to expand on the merits of the grounds given for their decision to support the application, and answer the criticisms that were brought against these, and secondly that both the Gera Trust and the Habitat Council be given the opportunity to make submissions after that. In what followed, this was blatantly ignored.

On 20 October 2015 Mayco met on the issue, but adjourned the meeting to undertake a site visit. The City officials were asked by Mayco to revisit their Report to explain the merits of their support of the application.

The Mayoral Committee next held a secret meeting on 2 November. What transpired there, or who attended, we could not find out – not even by means of the Promotion of Access to Information Act. On 3 November, between 10:14 a.m. and 10:16 a.m., the Mayco chairman announced that the application to develop within the Heritage Protection Overlay Zone was approved.

The proposal to place a multi-storey office block on top of the ancient warehouse on this historic street block, has evoked sustained public protest, and the fact that SPELUM (the municipal committee whose members represent the general public of all parties) has turned down the proposal unanimously three times – in 2011, 2013 and 2016.  The excessive and undemocratic powers now wielded by the Mayor and Mayco in terms of the latest System of Delegations, allows them to overthrow any SPELUM decision which rejects an application for development, and authorizes them to overthrow a SPELUM refusal that they consider against City policies. [This is a matter of serious concern.]

On 2 November 2015, Mayco held a secret meeting which they when challenged called a ‘caucus’, where attendance was kept secret and no Minutes were taken. Then at a Mayco meeting the following morning, 3 November 2015, between 11:14 and 11:16, their decision was announced: the building application was approved.

Subsequently the City offered us the right to appeal to PLANAP. We had expected to be able to appeal to the full City of Cape Town Council. Our appeal to PLANAP failed. The Habitat Council has now approached the Western Cape High Court to have this procedurally flawed finding reviewed.

4.2       Die her-aansoek om die Melck pakskuur en die hele Lutherse straatblok te gradeer en voorlopig verklaar te kry

Na die afgradering van die pakskuur tot Graad 111A status in 2013 deur mnr Ontong van SAHRA, is ons in kennis gestel dat die Habitatraad se nominasie van die hele straatblok glad nie oorweeg is nie, omdat gereken word dat dit nie verklarenswaardig is nie. Die gradering van die pakskuur as ‘n blote Graad 111 (A) is bevestig. Hierdie lae gradering is nie vir erfenisbewaarders aanvaarbaar nie, gevolglik het die Habitatraad in Augustus 2014 her-aansoek gedoen vir die grading en voorlopige verklaring van die pakskuur en die Lutherse blok as nasionale erfenisbate. Dit gaan die verstand te bowe dat ons tot op hede nog geen bindende reaksie op hierdie aansoeke ontvang het nie. Die aangeleentheid moet behoorlik afgehandel word.

4.3       Highclere

In Bulletin 15/1 het ons berig dat die uitspraak van die 27 September 2012 Ministeriële tribunaalverhoor oor Highclere was dat hierdie skaars voorbeeld van ‘n 19de eeuse seeklip huisie nie gesloop mag word nie. Die eienaars, Blue Peter Holdings, het toe na die Kaapse Hooggeregshof geappeleer en ‘n uitspraak ten gunste van sloping verkry. Dit is waarteen die Habitatraad as respondent tot die saak toegetree het. Die saak is op 11 Oktober aangehoor. Die regter het belowe dat hy sy uitspraak voor Kersfees sal lewer.

  1. Kaap die Goeie Hoop Erfenis-vereniging

Daar is gevoel dat die bestaan van ‘n organisasie wat namens meerdere erfenisbewaringsgroepe kan optree, wenslik is. Daarom is ‘n grondwet vir ‘n organisasie genoem te word die Kaap die Goeie Hoop Erfenis-vereniging opgestel wat individuale lede en lidorganisasies kan vrywaar van die betaling van koste indien daar ‘n kostebevel in geval van litigasie uitgereik word. Graag stuur ons die (lang) grondwet aan enige organisasie wat dit aanvra.

  1. Financial report

The credit balance in the Habitat Council’s Investment Advantage Savings account number 91 8782 9962 stands at sixteen thousand Rand. With the unavoidable expenditure that the court cases will necessitate, this will however be considerably reduced.

7..        Verkiesing van bestuur

Prof Brian Allanson, Ere-President, het versoek om uit die bestuur uit te tree weens gesondheidprobleme. Sy jare van diens word hoog waardeer. Sy plek word oorgeneem deur dr Dokdiek van der Zel.

Aangesien die verdere verkiesing van Uitvoerende bestuurslede per abuis oorgeslaan is, het die bestuur besluit dat die 2014/2015 bestuur nog ‘n jaar sal aanbly. Die bestuur vir die 2015 / 2016 periode was dus:

Dr DW van der Zel, ere-President, mnr Rodney Leak tesourier. Addisionele Lede: prof Chris Reddy, Adv Janko de Beer, me Alida Croudace en Me Hazel Bowen. M-L Roux bly aan as Uitvoerende Beampte.

  1. Afsluiting

            Na afsluiting het die jaarvergadering van CAPTRUST gevolg, en daarna die mini-simposium.

 

Mini symposium

The following speakers presented papers:

 

Rodney Cronwright, town planner by profession recently appointed to the Mayoral Tribunal, spoke on ,“What does the new municipal planning regime mean in practical terms for the man on the street”

Richard Bryant presented a talk on “The Cape Floral Kingdom: Cape Town’s Forgotten Heritage”. He dealt with the World Heritage Status of the Cape Floral Kingdom, and will present a proposal on how we can revive this, especially in respect of Table Mountain.

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