We have noticed some fairly mixed reporting around what is happening at the Constantia Nek restaurant property.
As is usual for buildings over 60 years old (the original building dates back to the 1930’s), the owners were required to obtain a permit from Heritage Western Cape (HWC) for alterations and additions. They appointed a specialist heritage practitioner and the application was submitted to HWC in September 2015.
The Harbour House Group were anxious to open the remodelled restaurant by mid-December 2015, and unfortunately commenced with alterations before a permit for the work had been issued by HWC. Following a complaint, an inspection was carried out on 15 October 2015 by HWC and a Stop Works Order was issued.
On 21 October the permit application was considered by HWC 2015 and they resolved to undertake a site inspection in order to clarify the nature and extent of unauthorised work and its impact on heritage significance. The Committee requested a ‘Heritage Recovery Report’ to be arranged by the owners summarizing the unauthorised work and assessing its impact on heritage significance.
The matter was tabled again at a HWC meeting on 11 November where it was resolved that the building be given a IIIA heritage grading (i.e. local, not Provincial or National) in terms of its landmark qualities and architectural, aesthetic, historical and social significance. The building is a rare and intact example of a “tearoom” typology with distinctive Arts and Crafts Features.
On 17 November 2015, a meeting of the owners, the project team and officials of HWC was held to discuss the way forward. The owners acknowledged that they had transgressed but were keen to put forward proposals to recover any lost heritage significance.
All of this resulted in the owners making several design changes and HWC resolved to approve the proposals in principle subject to certain conditions.