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Development planning to conserve best of the past

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Conserving the Bo Kaap’s unique historical landscape and way of life by managing development in a sustainable manner.

There has been good news for residents of the Bo Kaap his week. Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced on Tuesday that 19 places in the area had been declared national heritage sites, and the City of Cape Town recently approved the declaration of the Bo Kaap as a heritage protection overlay zone (HPOZ).

This zonal declaration means the city has committed itself to conserving the Bo Kaap’s unique historical landscape and way of life by managing development in a sustainable manner.

More than 600 privately owned properties will be affected by the HPOZ, which affects not only developments but also restoration of properties, their maintenance and alteration.

“This may sound complicated and some property owners may feel confused,” says the city’s mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt. “The city has heritage professionals to assist homeowners, and this guidance is free.”

The HPOZ does not affect ownership or rental of property, nor will it prevent new development. It does, however, provide for additional development rules over and above the provisions of the base zoning for land units in the Bo Kaap.

Applications approved by the city before the HPOZ becomes effective will be considered in terms of the legislation at the time of approval. The Bo Kaap area, with its narrow, cobbled streets and colourful buildings, has existed for nearly three centuries.

Apart from being the earliest established Muslim community in South Africa, the Bo Kaap is also Cape Town’s oldest surviving residential neighbourhood with well-presented, coherent street scapes. The zone for the Bo Kaap extends to the Table Mountain National Park.

The new heritage sites include the Auwal and Shafee mosques, the Strand Street quarry, Schotsche Koof Primary School and the Buitengracht Street Wall. 

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