New era for heritage management in Stellenbosch

27 February 2015

Four landscapes in central Stellenbosch must be managed as important cultural landscapes, according to Heritage Western Cape. This is one of a number of findings by the heritage agency in their approval of the first phase of the Stellenbosch heritage survey.

This approval of the survey of about 530 buildings and structures in the Stellenbosch town centre is a significant step forward in efficient heritage management.

It is also development friendly. As the survey was completed within the requirements of South African law and also within generally accepted International norms and practices, it will ensure that owners and developers will have more clarity and consistency about what could be allowed, or not in a specific area for buildings with specific heritage gradings.

Four landscapes in central Stellenbosch must be managed as important cultural landscapes, according to Heritage Western Cape. This is one of a number of findings by the heritage agency in their approval of the first phase of the Stellenbosch heritage survey.

This approval of the survey of about 530 buildings and structures in the Stellenbosch town centre is a significant step forward in efficient heritage management.

It is also development friendly. As the survey was completed within the requirements of South African law and also within generally accepted International norms and practices, it will ensure that owners and developers will have more clarity and consistency about what could be allowed, or not in a specific area for buildings with specific heritage gradings.

Heritage Western Cape suggest that four areas should be documented and managed as cohesive landscapes, over and above the grading of specific buildings in that landscape. The four landscapes are:

  • The Braak and the Rhenish Complex, inclusive of the Kruithuis and the two churches on the Braak
  • Dorp Street and its extensions
  • The upper part of Church Street, Ryneveld Street and Drosdy Street, inclusive of the Moederkerk, the Theologial Seminary and the Stellenbosch Museum
  • The old Coetzenburg farmstead and werf

Heritage Western Cape recommends the Braak and the Rhenish Complex as a Grade I National Landscape, which places this landscape directly under the jurisdiction of the South African Heritage Agency.

 

Die_Braak_Rhenish_Complex_Map_With_Text

Dorp Street; the museum/church/seminary node; and the Coetzenburg are designated as Grade II cultural landscapes. The value of buildings and structures in these landscapes are determined by the value of the whole landscape. Grade II landscapes are under the jurisdiction of Heritage Western Cape.

Heritage Western Cape furthermore suggested that significant trees be included in the survey.

Owners will be informed of approvals and/or changes of recommended gradings, to complete the final phase of public participation. The Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation, who submitted the survey for approval to Heritage Western Cape, will do the necessary changes to the current electronic version of the survey to reflect the final gradings, and also to include new sections for trees and the four cultural landscapes.

The Foundation will also be presenting a seminar and overview of new tendencies in the management of heritage landscapes, as well as the function and value that heritage may have – or may not – have within the broader context of social and development needs.

The Foundation supports sustainable conservation of heritage and innovative architecture and urban design. We are aware that our existing assumptions and practices constantly need to be examined critically if we desire to remain relevant. The best design of today has to be able to survive as part of our common heritage.

The Foundation, in collaboration with the Stellenbosch Municipality, is planning to make information on heritage available in an accessible and continuous manner. Municipal officials, residents and visitors should continuously have smart access to up to date information, on computers as well as mobile devices, while still protecting key information from unauthorised changes.

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