Simon's Town Architectural Advisory Committee
Guidelines for the Conservation and Development of the Simon's Town Conservation Area
In many Heritage areas, the relationship between the buildings and the street is an important defining characteristic. For many buildings the street façade is defined by a set of different architectural elements that provide the property with varying layers of privacy.
For example, a house may be screened from the street by the verandah, stoep or entrance porch, this may lead to a garden or forecourt, which in turn may lead to a boundary wall or fence and the street. This layering of architectural elements contributes to the character of the area and is often referred to as streetscape and is worthy of conservation.
In addition, as public spaces, the streets are enhanced by the views from the street and the relationship between the street and adjacent properties.
The interface between buildings and the street, including setback distances, scale and design of boundary walls, verandahs and balconies needs to be maintained in new developments
High boundary walls, carports and garages proposed between the building façade and the street in addition to the removal of low boundary walls/ fences and hedges often create streetscapes that are uncharacteristic and change the character of a Heritage Area.
Trees and vegetation often are important components that contribute to the character and form an integral part of the streetscape.
Existing regulations only control development on the lower side of Scenic Drives, largely due to the coastal nature of existing drives. However, upward views of the mountain are also regarded as significant.
As a general guideline, sub-division on the upper side of Scenic Drives should allow long deep plots to enable a staggered system of terraces, a more gradual vegetated slope than the canyon effect often created, and thus the preservation of mountain views.
No boundary wall on the upper side of a Scenic Drive should be higher than 1,5m from the top of the boundary wall determined by maximum height above natural ground level (e.g. 8m) should be stipulated which no development should be allowed to occur.
Consideration should be given to the imposition of a condition for all developments adjacent to a Scenic Drive that a landscape plan be formulated to indicate view preservation and enhancement and the nature of boundary walls and planting.
Relation to Neighbours
The visual impact of long boundary walls, particularly on steep slopes, is carefully assessed by the AAC.
Fencing hedging is preferable on certain visually exposed sites. Pre-cast walling is not allowed.
Size, height, width, proportions and levels of detail of boundary walls need to be consistent with the
architectural character of the existing building and street and should reinforce the historic character of the Heritage Area.
Materials and detailing should match those of existing buildings, or interpret them in a contemporary manner. Materials foreign to historic environments should be avoided.
Walls should be at least 230mm thick.
Replicate details evident on site, or on older buildings in the area. eg. Plaster copings to protect the wall from rain, or a stone plinth to act as a natural damp proof course.
Use hard wood like Meranti for exterior work to be durable. Timber fences should have vertical slats with gaps between, to allow visual permeability.
Gates should be made of open steel railings, wrought iron or open timber slats, to retain a visual link between the street and house.
Traditionally styled palisade fencing is preferred.
Small scale rectangular, articulated forms are appropriate. Therefore if a large house is planned it should be made up of several smaller elements aligned with each other. On steep slopes these small elements should be stepped down the site.
Houses built on stilts are not permitted. Houses on excessively wide or high platform structures are not permitted. The use of masonry or stone plinths at the base of buildings 'grounds' the building visually and architecturally and is the correct approach.
Stepping buildings with cut and fill results in buildings with floor levels close to natural ground levels. This assists with breaking up the mass and visual impact of the building.
The orientation and siting of new buildings should reflect those in the immediate vicinity of the property and the streetscape.
Simple narrow rectangles are the predominant form of buildings in the conservation area. Cross sections are generally less than six meters. Lean-to additions can be used to create wider spans if required. This form is ideally related to the traditional response to sloping sites; the creation of small terraces, of cut and fill and retaining walls. Buildings stepping down the slopes are a key characteristic of the conservation area.
New buildings must be made up of narrow rectangles with cross sections of no more than six metres.
Lean – to's to be no more than four metres wide.
The spatial demarcation of the conservation areas within Zone A is illustrated on the accompanying plan.
Topography and developmental history were factors in determining the demarcation.
This section seeks to identify the overall character of the different precincts in order to formulate
conservation objectives for each area. General conservation principles are then identified to provide an
overall framework for the evaluation of all new work, alterations and additions within the conservation
The spatial demarcation of the conservation areas within Zone A is illustrated on the accompanying plans. Topography and developmental history were factors in determining the demarcation.