A luta continua‚ as heritage group fights to save 1764 warehouse

An artist's impression of the office block proposed for the top of the 254-year-old Melck warehouse in central Cape Town.
An artist's impression of the office block proposed for the top of the 254-year-old Melck warehouse in central Cape Town.
Image: SUPPLIED

A group that has spent seven years fighting to save an 18th-century Cape Town building has won the latest skirmish.

Habitat Council CEO Marie-Lou Roux‚ who led the battle to save the Martin Melck warehouse in Strand Street‚ died in September 2017‚ aged 86. But president Diek van der Zel said the battle would continue.

Cape Town High Court judge Judith Cloete delivered a judgment on Tuesday which allows The Habitat Council to appeal against a City of Cape Town mayoral committee decision in 2015 that development of the 1764 building can go ahead.

Van der Zel said lawyers would be instructed to apply for a judicial review in the hope that plans for a four-storey office block on top of the warehouse can be thwarted.

Cloete was critical of his organisation for its unsubstantiated “broad and sweeping” allegations of pro-developer bias on the part of the DA‚ which controls the City of Cape Town.

“The allegations ... run to 44 paragraphs in the founding affidavit and are serious and wide-ranging‚ are unsupported by any objective evidence‚ and include accusations levelled at individuals who are not even party to these proceedings‚” she said‚ ordering them to be struck out of the court record.

“Courts determine issues‚ not crusades‚ and [The Habitat Council] should have placed facts before the court which could have assisted it in determining whether there is any substance to these allegations.”

The Melck warehouse is next to the Lutheran Church and the proposed development‚ designed by architect Gawie Fagan‚ includes parking and the office block.

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