Call to weigh MyCiTi’s heritage toll on Wynberg

La Pleasance in Wynberg is on land originally granted in 1839.

A mid-19th century thatched house in Wynberg will be saved from the wrecking ball when the MyCiTi development rolls through the area.

This is according to Dr Jayson Orton, of the Muizenberg-based Asha Consulting, who helped put together the heritage impact assessment (HIA) that recently went out for public review, as part of a City planning application for demolitions and property expropriations that will lay the groundwork for the new MyCiTi routes.

The house, La Pleasance, stands on the corner of Main and Riverstone roads, across from Maynardville shopping centre. Dr Orton says it is an important heritage site and will not be affected by a plan to turn Brodie and Main roads into a set of parallel, one-way streets, the so-called Brodie couplet, intended to unclog and revitalise Wynberg’s CBD.

The Brodie couplet was approved around 2018 by the City as part of MyCiTi Phase 2A, also known as the Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor (“Heritage application for MyCiTi”, Bulletin July 29).

Historian architect Hans Fransen notes in the HIA that La Pleasance is on land originally granted in 1839. Next to it is an open site that holds the ruins of Dunheved, granted in 1834, which burned down in 2000. Its woodwork was completely destroyed and its walls were later demolished for safety reasons.

Wynberg Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (WRRA) says it is reviewing the HIA draft and is concerned about the MyCiTi route and the possible demolition of heritage cottages.

WRRA committee member Joan van Zyl says most of the Wynberg residents who took part in the previous public-participation process were against the route, but the City still approved it.

The WRRA is asking its members to have a look at the HIA documents and make their voices heard.

The public has until Thursday August 19 to comment on a plan that if approved will change the face of Wynberg.

The 19 houses, both private and City-owned, that might need to be demolished to make way for Phase 2A are in Egglestone, Benjamin and Wellington roads. The City says the owners will be offered fair compensation.

City spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said La Pleasance and the ruins of Dunheved had been deemed to hold significant heritage value. While it was very likely the boundary walls might need to change to accommodate the MyCiTi route, the buildings themselves would not be affected, and La Pleasance was being considered for operational use by a City department.

The thatch house is currently vacant, but it is being considered for operational use by a City department.
The thatched house is on the corner of Main and Riverstone roads.
An aerial view of the property supplied by Asha Consulting, which helped compile the heritage impact assessment for Wynberg.