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Heritage Property Grading & How To Apply For Renovations Of Property Older Than 60 Years

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Heritage Property Grading & How To Apply For Renovations Of Property Older Than 60 Years

What is a heritage property?

Any structure older than 60 years is protected by the National Heritage Resources Act. Heritage properties are managed and graded by the provincial heritage body, e.g. Heritage Western Cape (HWC), local authorities who have the necessary competencies and the South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA).

Heritage buildings have different grading categories and sub-categories that indicate their importance and the authority that oversees them:

Grade 1 :

Description of Resource:  Heritage resources with qualities so exceptional that they are of special national significance.

Current examples: Robben Island

Examples of Possible Management Strategies: May be declared as a National Heritage Site managed by SAHRA.

Heritage Significance:  Highest Significance

Grade 2:

Description of Resource: 

Heritage resources with special qualities which make them significant in the context of a province or region, but don't fulfil the criteria for Grade I status.

Current examples: St George's Cathedral, Community House

Examples of Possible Management Strategies: May be declared as a Provincial Heritage Site managed by HWC.

Heritage Significance:  Exceptionally High Significance

Grade 3:

Such a resource contributes to the environmental quality or cultural significance of a larger area and fulfils one of the criteria set out in section 3(3) of the Act but that does not fulfil the criteria for Grade II status. Grade III sites may be formally protected by placement on the Heritage Register. These resources are currently managed by HWC unless the local authority has been found competent and has been granted delegated authority.

Grade 3A:

Description of Resource:

Such a resource must be an excellent example of its kind or must be sufficiently rare. These are heritage resources that are significant in the context of an area.

Examples of Possible Management Strategies:

This grading is applied to buildings and sites that have sufficient intrinsic significance to be regarded as local heritage resources; and are significant enough to warrant that any alteration, both internal and external, is regulated. Such buildings and sites may be representative, being excellent examples of their kind, or may be rare. In either case, they should receive maximum protection at local level.

Heritage Significance:  High Significance

Grade 3B:

Description of Resource: 

Such a resource might have similar significances to those of a Grade 3 A resource, but to a lesser degree. These are heritage resources which are significant in the context of a townscape, neighbourhood, settlement, or community.

Examples of Possible Management Strategies:

This grading is applied to buildings and/or sites whose significance is contextual, i.e. in large part due to its contribution to the character or significance of the environs. These buildings and sites should, therefore, only be regulated if the significance of the environs is sufficient to warrant protective measures, regardless of whether the site falls within a Conservation or Heritage Area. Internal alterations should not necessarily be regulated.

Heritage Significance:  

Medium Significance

Grade 3C:

Description of Resource: 

Such a resource is contributing significantly to the environs. These are heritage resources that are significant in the context of a streetscape or direct neighbourhood.

Examples of Possible Management Strategies:

This grading is applied to buildings and/or sites whose significance is contextual, i.e. in large part due to its contribution to the character or significance of the environs. These buildings and sites should, therefore, only be regulated if the significance of the environment is sufficient to warrant protective measures, regardless of whether the site falls within a Conservation or Heritage Area. Internal alterations should not necessarily be regulated.

Heritage Significance:  

Low Significance

Not Conservation Worthy (NCW)

Description of Resource:  A resource that, after appropriate investigation, has been determined to not have heritage significance to be retained as part of the National Estate.

Examples of Possible Management Strategies:

No further actions under the NHRA are required. This must be motivated by the applicant and approved by the authority. Section 34 can even be lifted by HWC for

structures in this category if they are older than 60 years.

Heritage Significance:  

No research potential or other cultural significance

Application to renovate a heritage building.

If your property is older than 60 years (Section 34) or your building is declared a Provincial Heritage Site (Section 27) you are required to submit a formal application to HWC for consideration and permitting to make any changes or renovations.

This includes:

- Demolition or partial demolition

- Destroying

- Damaging

- Defacing

- Excavating

- Altering or removing from its original position

- Subdividing, or

- change the planning status of a provisionally protected or a heritage area and/ or alter or demolish any structure or part of a structure.

To obtain a permit under the National Heritage Resources Act, you need to follow this process:

1. Email hwc.hwc@westerncape.gov.za , provide the address and erf/farm number of the site, a summary of the proposed work and the contact details of the applicant.

2. HWC will respond with a reference number.

3. Please use this reference number when making the required payment. (click on the link)

4. Complete the relevant application form. (click on the link)

5. Submit the required application along with the associated required documentation as listed in the following link: https://www.hwc.org.za/node/91

6. Your application will be assigned to a Heritage Officer to process.

7. Please wait 10 working days before contacting HWC regarding your applications progress.

8. Submissions are to be submitted to the Office of the CEO electronically by emailing ceoheritage@westerncape.gov.za.

Author Western Cape Government
Published 04 Dec 2023 / Views -
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