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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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Specific Elements (construction)



    Only painted and plastered masonry or stone faced chimneys are permitted.

Traditional roofscape with chimneys
Plumbing to be concealed

Corner windows

Corner windows are not appropriate in the conservation area. Corner windows may only be used where the corner is a min. 100mm x 100mm post.


Corner windows to be separated by a post.

Dormer windows, Gable windows & Skylights


Dormer windows in roofs should be subsidiary elements.

Dormer element aggregate length should not total more than ¼ of the roof length.

Dormer windows can be built into the roof or built up from the exterior wall or can start partially below the eaves line. Whichever method is used, the design should be sensitive to the existing roof, which should retain its importance.

Certain pitched roofs may not be able to accommodate dormers because they are too low. Changing the height of the main roof may give better internal space than too many new dormer windows.

To reduce scale and impact, dormer windows should not exceed 1,5m wide for larger roofs or 1,2m wide for smaller roofs. They should not extend to the apex of the roof, but remain subsidiary to it.

Avoid crowding the roof with too many dormer windows or skylights. Allow 'breathing space' for other roof elements like chimneys and gables.

Dormer windows should be matching in style and be evenly spaced. They can be positioned to highlight important elements of a house, for example over front doors, or above bay windows.
Existing, original roof elements such as facias, timber fretwork and finials should be protected, restored and replaced after fitting new dormer windows.

Small windows serving the roof space can be placed in gable walls. Proportionally they should not be bigger than a quarter of an existing window below.

Skylights work best when not very visible from the street.

When portions of a roof are removed in order to create an outdoor area, care needs to be taken to preserve the overall character and shape of the roof.

Outbuildings, Garages & Carports

scaleThe special character of Heritage Areas is defined, amongst others, by the high quality of its streetscapes. On site parking and garages on the sensitive boundary between public and private, are rapidly changing the character of these streetscapes . With thought and care, these changes can retain and enhance the character of our streets.

Scale, proportions and level of detail of carports and garages need to be consistent with the existing building and the street and reinforce the historic precedent of the area.



Outbuildings must be related in design to the main building and preferable linked by walls.

New garages and carports should be built on the least sensitive side of the site and not directly in front of the main street façade.

They should take up a minor portion of the façade and not dominate street frontage or the garden of a property. In some cases only a single garage, or no garage can be accommodated.

Tandem parking reduces the impact of the off – street parking on the streetscape.

The provision of garages and carports should avoid the loss of habitable rooms and verandahs.

Building lines which set garages back from the front boundary should be respected. Ideally the garage should be set back from the main façade of the house.

The impact on the street boundary may be lessened by setting the garage back slightly, so that the existing wall or fence retains its visual dominance. (This also improves access and protects pedestrians on the pavement).

If a section of a boundary wall needs to be removed, remove it between two piers or columns. Retain as much of the wall and vegetation as possible.

New garages and carports should not obscure essential and important features of a building, nor disturb existing historic architectural patterns eg. Symmetry of an existing façade. Try to relate the addition to heights and lines such as facias, parapets and cornices of the existing walls and buildings.

Materials & Detailing


Materials and detailing should match those of existing buildings, or interpret them in a contemporary manner. Materials foreign to historic environments should be avoided.

In general, plaster detail seen in older buildings and walls is a response to climate, for example plaster copings on the top of walls protect them from rainwater penetration and staining.

Garage doors


Garage doors in Heritage Areas are generally single doors. Double garages should have two single doors with a masonry pillar between.

Doors are usually made of timber and painted. Powder or epoxy coated aluminium doors in an appropriate colour could also be used.

Traditional garage doors often had glass panels in the top half. A contemporary interpretation of this is appropriate.

The door should have either vertical or horizontal divisions, depending on the existing garage doors on the street. Diagonal divisions should be avoided.

Existing parapet walls on garages in the area could provide ideas for the new garage.

For public safety, garage doors are not allowed to open onto the pavement.

Driveway & Carport gates

Gates in Heritage Areas are generally cast iron or timber and are well detailed. Contemporary interpretations of this traditional level of detail enhances the quality of the gate.


Existing and original gates with distinctive historic character should be repaired or remade to match existing gates wherever possible.

Gates should be visually permeable to retain a visual link between the street and house.

Driveway gates should be compatible with pedestrian gates in their materials, design and character.

Gates may not open outward over the pavement.


Electronics etc. to be inconspicuous
Plumbing to be concealed


Laundry & Refuse areas

scaleThe visual impact of poorly stabilized slopes and excessively high or long retaining walls is of concern.


Exposed cut and fill slopes are to be stabilised with dry pack
stone walls and vegetation.

Retaining walls must not exceed 2 meters in height and 10
meters in length.

Gabion retaining systems, without stepping or with gabions back a maximum of 50mm, may be used but are also not to exceed 2 meters in height and 10 meters in length.

Boundary walls & fences

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


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.

Sloping sites

Sloping sites often give rise to high boundary walls that obstruct views to and from the house. Gardens of sloping sites should be terraced and not be raised artificially. This has the added benefit of avoiding erosion and risking potential structural collapse.


Where retaining walls are required, a combination of solid and metal fencing reduces the scale and impact on the street.

Pillars or piers should be used where there is a step or a change in direction in the wall. Articulation of the wall with piers also assists to reduce the scale of the wall.

Walls on a sloping boundary should either follow the slope or be stepped, to avoid a resulting high wall at the bottom.

Retaining walls made from interlocking retaining blocks are visually disturbing and damage the integrity of Heritage Areas. Retaining walls should be based on traditional solutions.

Gabion retaining systems, without stepping or with gabions back a maximum of 50mm, may be used but are also not to exceed 2 meters in height and 10 meters in length.

Existing retaining walls and terracing on a site should be restored and used as a design constraint / informant for new construction.


Signage bylaws control all signage in Simon's Town and separate plans must be submitted. Within the conservation area additional controls are applied.


Signs on residential buildings should consist of the number and name in letters not exceeding 200mm in height.

No illuminated box signs are permitted.

Lighting & Security



Exterior lighting must be low-keyed and unobtrusive.

The choice of external light fittings should be in keeping with the identified character of the area.

Lighting must always be carefully positioned to prevent light pollution to neighbours.

Bright security lights should only be used if connected to movement detectors.



Boundary walls in Heritage Areas are generally low and / or visually permeable, allowing views of the building beyond and allowing surveillance by neighbours, making the area safer and more enjoyable.


Electric fencing must be within the property boundary and not be visible from the exterior.

Intruder prevention elements must be carefully assessed. Razor wire is not recommended.

Sliding concertina – type security gates should not be used in front of old doors. Try to design a security gate to conform to the main subdivisions of the door and paint it a similar colour.

Burglar bars for living areas should be fitted to the inside of the window frames. External bars that protrude beyond the window reveals can be visually disruptive and need to be carefully designed.

Burglar bars that follow the divisions of a window are less visually intrusive.

Dark or black burglar bars visually 'disappear' when viewed from outside and are much less
disruptive of the view from inside.

Unobtrusive deterrents such as commercially produced spikes can be installed around down pipes or along the tops of walls. Designs are available that are complimentary to a Heritage Area.

Raising the height of enclosures

The desire for privacy and security has resulted in the need to increase the height of existing boundary
walls. High solid walls can result in a bland and hostile street environment and can conceal intruders from the street.


If it is permissible to raise a wall, the character of the existing wall should be kept intact.

Most low, masonry or stone walls can be raised with open steel railings, wrought iron or open
timber slats, maintaining the visual link with the street.

If an old wall has elaborate mouldings or historical detail that would be destroyed by an alteration, it is preferable to build a new wall or palisade fence behind the existing wall. This could be covered with planting.

The recommended maximum height of any boundary enclosure in Heritage Areas is 1,8m. At least a third of this height should be visually permeable. (open steel railing or open timber slats).