Cape Town – Bo-Kaap residents have claimed another victory after the Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC’s independent appeal tribunal dismissed an appeal by Any Side Investment relating to 150 Buitengracht Street.
Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association chairperson Osman Shaboodien said: “Our legal adviser had argued in our opposition to the appeal that this building would have a negative impact not only on the built environment but the social fabric of the Bo-Kaap community."
Shabodien said the building, if approved, would add to the “concrete wall” on Buitengracht Street, dividing the poor working-class Bo-Kaap from the rich city.
The proposed construction is a 9-storey mixed-use development next to the historic Auwal Mosque. It includes retail and short-term rentals with only five parking bays. Bo-Kaap residents said it was out of character with the historic Bo-Kaap buildings.
Initially approval was given to the developers to demolish the current houses on the site but then an appeal was lodged, delaying their plans.
According to Any Side Investments, the site has been vacant for over 10 years and they acquired the property in 2017, with heritage approved rights in place for a 9-storey building.
However, Any Side Investments had appealed a decision by Heritage Western Cape on December 12, 2018, where the built environment and landscape committee did not approve their proposal of a significant amendment to a set of plans that were approved in 2007. The developers were hoping to amend some of the conditions that formed part of the 2007 decision.
Part of the tribunal’s lengthy judgment delivered last week said: “We are of the view that the permissible bulk, scale and height of the new development on this site is inappropriate for the environment in which it is situated which we observed during a site visit
“A new approach would enable the appellant (Any Side Investments) to consider a more appropriate, smaller and less visibly intrusive design in what is a unique and virtually intact heritage area.”
Any Side Investments had not responded to any queries by the time of going to print.