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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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New Complexes & Subdivisions


Any subdivision of two or more erven may necessitate a Heritage Impact Assessment.

The predominant pattern of subdivision is the rectangular gridiron. This is infinitely flexible and is appropriate on flat or steeply sloping sites. The following factors must be considered in the design:


Sites steeper than 1:4 are not suitable for subdivision into small units, as road access will involve cut and fill and retaining structures.

Roads should be aligned diagonally up steep slopes to prevent excessive cut and fill embankments. Width should also be evaluated.

Special measures must be used to prevent slope failure and erosion such as terracing and benching on steeper sections of a site. Planning must allow for buildings to step down slopes in a series of platforms.


The thin topsoil on decomposing granite and clay makes development difficult. Geotechnical investigations must be undertaken prior to all subdivisions and development.

Surface and Ground Water

The geotechnical investigation should reveal the presence of groundwater and advise on design implications. The management of storm water must be carefully considered particularly on steeper sites. Drainage retention ponds may have to be considered.

Drainage of underground water may be affected by retaining walls.


Very little of the original indigenous vegetation remains due to the extensive planting of gums in the past.

There are also non-invasive exotic trees of historical and visual significance. These must be retained. (Refer to the Simon’s Town Tree List).

Erf Shape and Size

The contours must be considered in subdivisions.

No Erf should be less than 12m wide. The size of the Erf will depend on many factors. The most important of which, is the relationship in size to surrounding development. It is important to ensure that the texture or grain of new development is consistent with older development in the conservation area.

Submission of the maximum building envelope will be required, with contour lines at 1/2m intervals.

Massing, Development Patterns

Historical patterns from Simon’s Town or row housing and semi-detached housing should be studied. Rhythms of positioning, the use of materials and colour are important factors.

Building Lines

The building lines as prescribed in the Zoning Scheme Regulations are applicable. Applications for departures must be fully motivated.


The treatment of the public space is a major contributor to Simon’s Town’s character. Careful design id therefore required for hard and soft landscape areas and street furniture and signage.


The tightly knit character of Simon’s Town makes well-designed group housing schemes particularly appropriate. In addition to the consideration of factors such as geology, topography, response to slope, ground and surface water and vegetation, the following factors must be considered in their design.


The gridiron pattern of subdivision largely dictates the layout pattern or group schemes.

Access and Parking

If internal vehicular access arrangements are made these road areas must be broken up with pockets of landscaping and tree planting to reduce their potentially negative visual impact.

Public parking areas in such schemes should be broken up into units of not more than four bays. Parking should be screened.

Pockets of Landscaping
Parking should be screened



Buildings in the conservation area are frequently linked. Even if freestanding units are built these should be linked by garaging, courtyard walls and other subsidiary architectural elements.

Building Forms

Small scale rectangular, articulated forms are appropriate. If large complexes are planned, the scale must be broken down by using small elements in combinations.

On steep slopes these small elements should step down the site in a series of terraces. Units on stilts or excessively wide and high platform structures are not permitted.


A key element unifying Simon’s Town is the pattern of double-pitched roofs with veranda and lean-to additions and a limited usage of materials and colours.

This pattern is to be followed in new buildings.


Roofs are to be double-pitched, minimum 25 degrees maximum 40 degrees. If wider sections than 6 meters are required lean-to additions must be used.

Lean-to elements should be subsidiary to its main pitched roof. Roof pitches can range from 5 degrees to 30 degrees.

Simple gabled or hipped ends to roofs are to be used.

A limited range of traditional roofing materials has been used, typically painted corrugated iron or slate.


Roofs must be of Victorian profile painted corrugated sheeting or of slate or fibre cement shingle.

Colours are to be in the grey and black range.

Dormer windows in roofs should be subsidiary elements and should not exceed 25% of the aggregate.

Flat roofs can be used if screened by a parapet but these should not exceed 40 square meters in extent.

Skylights are permitted.


Walls in Simon’s Town are mostly of plastered and light painted masonry although stone was widely used for plinths and basement levels. With most sites being steeply sloping a stone-faced basement plinth can reduce the impression of height. Dark coloured rough plaster can achieve the same effect. Painted shiplap boarding may be used on subsidiary elements.


Walls, of whatever construction, are to be plastered and painted to look like masonry.

Windows and Doors

Windows and doors have predominantly vertical proportions in the conservation area despite wide variation in architectural fashions. This element creates visual unity and should be reflected in new design.


Vertically proportioned openings should be used.

Large openings such as sliding doors should be set back from the façade by at least 1,5 meters or screened by verandas or pergolas.

Consistency in fenestration is required.

Painted wood joinery is traditional in the conservation area, and is therefore preferable. New contemporary materials such as aluminium may be used but must be powder coated.

Corner windows are not allowed unless provided with a min. 100mm x 100mm corner post.

Radio and TV, Solar Panels, Telephone and Electrical Services, Satellite Dishes, Lift Shafts, Funiculars, Cell & Radio Masts and Wind Turbines

These elements detract from the simple clean lines of the building forms and must be as inconspicuous as possible.


All such electronic devices must be carefully placed in relation to the form of the building.

Solar panels must be flush with the roof, be below the roof line and be as inconspicuous as possible. Storage tanks are to be internal.

Telephone and electrical cables must be underground and built into the building.

Lift shafts may not project above the roof line.

Service / Rainwater Pipes


Water supply and drainage pipes must be fully concealed.

Rainwater downpipes must be carefully placed and finished to tone in with walls.



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

Outbuildings Including Pool Houses and Guard Houses


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

External structures such as braai places, pizza ovens, decks and, carports must also be assessed.

Drying Area and Refuse Areas


A screened refuse and drying area for hanging washing must be provided.


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.



Exterior lighting must be low-keyed and unobtrusive.



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


Gabions are supported, where they are filled with natural stone.

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

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

Pre-cast concrete retaining systems may be used but are also not to exceed 2 meters in height and 10 meters in length and are to be planted.

Boundary Walls and Fences

The visual impact of long boundary walls, particularly on steep slopes is carefully assessed by the AAC. Fencing hedging may be preferable on certain visually exposed sites. Pre-cast walling is unacceptable.


Complexes of more than three stories in height are inappropriate in the conservation area. They impact on surrounding spaces and it is essential that they be visually integrated into their settings.

In determining the number of storeys in a building, and in determining the designation of a particular storey, the following provisions shall apply: 

(a)  Basement storeys and mezzanine storeys shall be disregarded in counting the number of storeys.

(b)  Any storey (not being a basement or mezzanine storey) having a floor-to-ceiling height exceeding 4,8 m shall be taken as two storeys;  if exceeding 7,2 m three storeys, and so on;  provided that where the floor or ceiling of a storey is not level, or has different levels, the mean level shall be taken.

"Mean Level"

(a) For the purpose of defining which storey of a building or a division thereof is "mean level of the ground" means – the basement storey, the ground storey and so on:  the mean level of the ground immediately abutting such building or division, averaged around the perimeter of such building or division;

(b)  for the purpose of determining the height of a building or portion thereof in order to apply any provision of the Scheme other than one referred to in paragraph (c):  the mean level of the ground determined as in paragraph (a);  and

(c)  for the purpose of determining the height of a point on a building or a division thereof in order to apply any provision of the Scheme which limits the height of such point in relation to its distance from a boundary:  the mean level of the ground immediately abutting that elevational plane of such building or division which contains such point or lies between such point and the boundary concerned, averaged along such elevational plane

The following factors should be considered in breaking down the scale, modifying bulk and helping the complex to fit into its setting:


The complex should be made up of a combination of small elements. Its various parts such as circulation should be picked out and made identifiable.

Emphasizing the plinth or base, the central or shaft area and the capital and roof can further break down the bulk.

These should be strongly articulated in choice of materials and colour. Entrances should be emphasized which would assist break up of the building bulk.

Silhouette: Roofing

Pitched roofs predominate in the conservation area. The use of a system of pitched roofs will help to break down the scale and bulk of a complex. The silhouette of such a complex will be more appropriate.

Flat roofs of a small scale are acceptable as linking elements.

Roofing material should be painted Victorian profile corrugated iron in grey to black tone or slate. See the General Guidelines.