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Simon's Town Heritage Advisory Committee

Guidelines for the Conservation and Development of the Simon's Town Conservation Area

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Conservation Principles

Heritage Resources

"Heritage resources" is a broad concept and can include many traditional and cultural resources inherited and valued by society. Heritage resources may have survived by accident, through neglect, or by having been nurtured by previous generations.

Individuals and communities value these resources as part of our collective heritage and for this reason, the need for conservation and protection is important. The purpose of these guidelines is to highlight the sensitivity of our built and natural environment and the care we need to take when designing and building new alterations and developments in Heritage Areas, as well as historic buildings outside these areas.


Historic buildings in a Heritage Area are most likely to express an architectural character of the area and should be used as precedents in the design of new buildings and/ or alterations to existing buildings.

Buildings which are unsympathetic to the character of the Heritage Area will generally have been built before the identification of the area as a Heritage Area and should not be used as precedent.

Cities are living entities and change over time. The Heritage Resources Section of the City of Cape Town will support proposals which are contemporary in style or use modern materials, provided that they are contextually sensitive and maintain or enhance the character of the heritage area.

Cultural Landscapes & Historic Vegetation

Cultural landscapes and historic vegetation add value to environments by enhancing the historic character of the landscape and providing a unique sense of place illustrating the passage of time and historic patterns in the landscape.

Deliberately planted vegetation is an integral part of the cultural landscape. Many trees planted in historic areas were exotic trees that prospered in the Mediterranean climate. The composite qualities of historic vegetation and indigenous vegetation enriches the unique Cape cultural landscape.

All trees in a heritage area are protected where they are significant to the context of historic buildings or to the character of the area. Trees that are protected include exotic, non – invasive trees.


Avenues, squares and parks surrounded and defined by historic trees.

Designed and formal gardens.

Places and vegetation of symbolic value eg. Slave tree.

Groups of trees planted for shade or as windbreaks and old water courses often reflect historic agricultural activity and provide depth to environments.

Historic domestic architecture and gardens.

Built environments that respond and draw aesthetic value from their landscape contexts.

Architectural Characteristics

New developments, additions and renovations in Heritage Areas should, wherever possible, take into account and be compatible with, the identified character of the Heritage Area within which it is situated. The elements that define the character of the area need to be identified and should inform the design and detail of new buildings and renovation or additions to existing buildings.


The dominant architectural style should respond sympathetically to the character and proportions of surrounding/ Original existing buildings.

The scale of surrounding buildings and structure should be observed.

The pitch and design of roofs and surrounding roofscape.

The orientation and siting of buildings on erven.

The positions and proportions of windows and doors.

The dominant building materials used.

The dominant colour of buildings.

The interface between buildings and street, including setback distances, the scale and design of boundary walls, verandahs and balconies.

The interface between the natural and built environment, including topography, geology, vegetation and open spaces.

Existing buildings:

Features such as verandahs, boundary walls, decorative timberwork, plaster mouldings, facia boards, roof shape and materials should be maintained or restored.

Maintain the historical character and scale when replacing building components.

wnings, lamps, signs etc. should be chosen to fit their historic setting.

Mature trees, hedges and other existing features such as boulders, retaining walls and terraces should be retained.



Respect the integrity of the original building.

Careful attention to the historical layers of the architecture should be made. For instance, late Victorian additions of verandas and joinery to older buildings have historical value in their own right and they should not be removed. They have become part of the building's history and character.

Historical detail in the interior of your house is very important and should be protected.

Respect the integrity of the existing structure.

Get specialist advice before you alter your building.

Match replacements to what existed there before.

Clean down parts of your building as gently as possible.

Construct additions where they are not visible from the street.

Give careful consideration to the roofscape, including views looking down onto the roof.


The following materials are unsuitable in a Conservation Area:

Cement tiles (Victorian profile corrugated iron or fibre cement roof slates are more acceptable).

Clay tiles (except to replace or to use in association with existing clay tile roofs).

Fibre cement roof sheets (except Victorian profile).

Un-plastered concrete block.

Artificial stone of any kind.

Face brick.

Exposed concrete of any kind.

Unpainted Aluminium or steel windows or doors.

Unpainted or varnished windows, doors, and garage doors (i.e. paint all exposed woodwork unless the original timber work is a hardwood such as teak and was never painted).

Precast concrete fences.

Precast concrete garages.

Fibreglass sheeting.


Where your house has any of the above "unsuitable" material in a place visible from the street, then:

If you need to re-roof your house, use corrugated iron profiles or fibre cement tiles (only use clay tiles to replace original clay tiles).

Plaster and paint unsuitable materials where possible.

Paint timber door and window frames, and garage doors.

Replace badly proportioned windows with windows more in keeping with the type originally used. (vertically oriented)

Grow creepers over unsuitable existing garden wall finishes.


Renovate or restore old doors and windows if they can be repaired.

Repair and repaint rather than strip windows and doors that are painted.

Retain the original timber doors and windows on the street elevation.

Respect and try to understand the building styling. Steel or aluminium replacements are unsuitable.

Protect old plaster surrounds of windows and doors if you replace them.

Retain the original shutters of your house if they are present.

Mock shutters are from the wrong period and are therefore unsuitable.

Shutters should be painted.

If you replace or change windows and doors: -

-Try to match the old ones.
- Use windows and doors with proportions similar to the originals.
- Paint doors and windows rather than varnish them.
- Install burglar bars on the inside of windows, and match or relate them to the windowpanes if possible.


Retain the original pitch of the roof.

Use conventional geometry to articulate the roof.

Retain any historic detail present in your roof construction.

Roof parapets are an important feature of early Simon's Town.

Replacement with overhanging eaves destroys the historical fabric.

Use corrugated iron in Victorian profile.

Choose gutters with profiles as close as possible to those found in historic buildings. Retain any chimneys.


Retain your verandah if you have one.

Carefully consider materials if enclosing or partly enclosing a verandah (i.e. avoid masonry, or badly proportioned windows).

Renovate or repair the old cast iron or timber fretwork or concrete columns of the veranda.

Try to match old parts if they are damaged and you have to replace them.

Replace missing veranda components using matched parts, if you can.

Replace your veranda or have it plastered and painted if it is now made of an unsuitable material.

Verandahs should be subservient and in proportion to the main structure.


A strong feature of the character of Simon's Town is the coherence of the colours, and jarring colours are not advisable. (Before c.1850's the majority of houses were soft white but by the turn of the century the later houses were painted in colours).

Woodwork was usually always painted using shades of green, blue, grey, white or black.

Sometimes the windows and doors were painted in a combination of two colours, e.g. the fixed frame of the window in a dark colour and the opening section in white.

Roofs in Simon's Town should preferably be black or grey to fit in with the majority of roof colours.


Retain old garden walls and hedges.

Use a suitable material for the garden walls and fences. Avoid un-plastered brick, pre-cast concrete or razor wire.

Keep the walls on the front street boundary low.

Boundary walls must respect their design context.

Boundary walls to be articulated (not flat).


Garages to be properly constructed (no precast concrete garages).

Use wood, not steel or aluminium garage doors.

Garage doors should always be painted.

Brick, cobbles, etc. are suitable for driveways.

Use simple garage doors.


Preserve old trees or hedges on your site. Permission to cut down old trees must be obtained (refer to the tree audit in the appendix).


Regular maintenance of historic buildings is not only necessary to preserve the historic features of those buildings; it could also save you money in the long run by preventing the need for major repairs. If your house develops structural problems like cracking:

Find out why it is happening and take immediate steps to solve the problem.

Water from leaking gutters running over walls will damage them.

Avoid replacing suspended timber floors with concrete floors. Apart from historical considerations, this can affect the ventilation necessary to keep other parts of the house from deteriorating.

Avoid blocking up the ventilation holes under suspended timber floors for the same reason.

Repair leaking roofs immediately to avoid damage to internal finishes.

Make sure the water from the roof is lead away from the house and that water does not pool against walls.

Keep all external woodwork painted or oiled (it should be painted unless it always was oiled).

Attend to rusting cast iron as soon as you notice it to prevent further deterioration.

Repair damaged plaster mouldings to avoid their deterioration and possible loss.