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In September we celebrate our South African Heritage culminating in one of the nation's favourite public holidays and frequently referred to as Braai Day. And whether you celebrate with a braai in the suburbs, a shisa nyama & car wash or even a plant-based alternative, we thought that at Blue Chip we would celebrate our wonderful Heritage homes in Cape Town this month.

Cape Town has a wide array of Heritage properties from original Cape Dutch to Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian, Arts & Crafts and Art Deco. Some of these are designated historical monuments but many of them are homes, lived in and enjoyed every day. And every so often we get to enjoy marketing some of the more special heritage homes. Additionally, certain areas have been designated heritage areas as they have historical significance as a neighbourhood. The more obvious examples of these are the bright colours and cobbled streets of the Bo-Kaap and De Waterkant, the seaside charm of Kalk Bay and the quaint elegance of Chelsea Village in Wynberg.

What is surprising to a lot of people is that any structure (and its fixtures and fittings) older than 60 years is protected in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act and changes to these buildings require certain approvals. This sounds more onerous and restrictive than it is in practise but it is always worth investigating a property's heritage status before buying as it may be more onerous and costly to maintain the features that make it more desirable than the contemporary properties in the same neighbourhood.

The National Heritage Resources Act is a national law covering all aspects of South African heritage resources including archaeology, meteorites and burial grounds but as property practioners we are primarily concerned with our built environment and the that part of the Act that relates to property structures older than 60 years. No property may be altered or demolished entirely or in part without a permit from Heritage Western Cape and this includes altering the external and internal appearance not only by structural work but also by painting, plastering and any other decorative effect.  So, if you plan to renovate or upgrade your heritage home, please do ensure that your architect or draftsperson knows the law and how it is applied.

This is even more important when you buy and own in an area designated a heritage area. Such areas are additionally governed by the City pf Cape Town's by-law as Heritage Overlay Zones and are subject to more stringent regulations for example, owners may be prohibited from raising the height of boundary walls or building solid walls on the boundaries or removing established trees. The main purpose is to prevent inappropriate alterations and to ensure that the heritage value not only of the individual structures but also the neighbourhood itself is protected and enhanced. While this can sound challenging, the City of Cape Town has heritage officers at its Spatial Planning offices who are available to assist and advise property owners free of any charges.  

We are pleased to be marketing some very special heritage homes at Blue Chip; the first is a charming cottage sensitively renovated for comfortable modern living in the Wynberg Chelsea Village Heritage Overlay Zone and the second is a beautiful Arts & Crafts home dated 1936 and modernised for contemporary family living in Kenilworth

And it's good to be reminded that newer properties are the heritage of the future and that we should cherish and celebrate not only our homes but also our neighbourhoods no matter our particular heritage.

Author Bronwen Woodward
Published 30 Sep 2020 / Views -
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