Part of the charm of Parkview lies in the 100 plus year history that is reflected in its older homes and shops, and in its beautiful street and garden trees. Buildings older than 60 years are protected by the National Heritage Resources Act, 25 of 1999 which states that,
“No person may alter or demolish any structure or part of a structure which is older than 60 years without a permit issued by the relevant provincial heritage resources authority”.
In Gauteng, this authority is the Provincial Heritage Resources Authority - Gauteng (PHRAG). Failure to obtain the relevant permission from PHRAG can result in a criminal prosecution.
When an owner plans to alter or demolish part or all of a structure that is over 60 years, they are therefore required to submit an application first to PHRAG and, once that is approved, then to the City Council. PHRAG requires owners to obtain comment on the proposed alterations and additions from the Parkview Residents’ Association (PRA) before they are submitted to PHRAG. This is done via a letter from the PRA stating that there is no objection on heritage grounds. The plans are also then stamped ‘No objection’.
In discharging these duties, the PRA’s heritage committee forms part of the Joint Plans Committee (JPC) which is an association of the heritage committees of the Westcliff, Parktown, Forest Town and Parkview residents’ associations, as well as the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation. The JPC meets fortnightly to review building plans and land use applications for these areas. and includes heritage specialists such as Flo Bird, town planners and architects.
When considering the proposed alterations and additions, the JPC applies the principles of the Burra Charter. Alterations and additions should not seek to imitate or mimic what was originally there, but rather, through language or materiality, should be able to be identified as subsequent changes, while still respecting and responding to the character and significance of the original.
The JPC is a vehicle which assists owners in making their properties conducive to modern living, while respecting the heritage of the property, the streetscape and the suburb, and ensuring that community interests such as privacy, walkability and common amenities are maintained. The JPC encourages owners to ensure that there is a visual connection from the public sphere, ie the street, to their house. High walls create a hard and unwelcoming pedestrian experience and change the character of the suburb, as its many characterful heritage houses cannot be appreciated. From a security aspect, they furthermore remove public surveillance, with the result that, once over the wall, intruders are out of sight.
In summary, the process is as follows:
- Submit the full PHRAG application to the PRA for comment
- Submit the application to PHRAG along with the letter from the PRA
- Submit the PHRAG-approved plans to Council
- Contact the building inspector when you begin building works on site
The JPC can be contacted through the PRA.