New life for Kalk Bay building

The building at 11 Windsor Road, Kalk Bay.

The owners of a property in Kalk Bay’s Windsor Road are applying to change its single-residential zoning to allow for four flats in a double-storey building with a small shop or office.

The current zoning of 11 Windsor Road is single residential 1, which grants additional rights for a bed and breakfast or a small creche. If the application is successful, the zoning will change to local business 2, which allows for shops, flats, boarding houses, places of worship, clinics, and rooftop base telecommunicationstation, among others.

The application is being advertised and the closing date for comment is Monday March 4.

John and Nina Innes bought the property in January last year and currently live there.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said the application was for the conversion of the existing building into a two-storey building with four flats and a small shop/office component along a portion of the Windsor Road street front.

The proposal also includes garages for six vehicles in a single-storey outbuilding and a further two on-site parking bays.

The property has heritage protection and City approval is needed for certain activities such as alterations, extensions and demolition.

Ms Innes declined to comment, other than to say that the shop would remain unchanged from the original 1920 plans and one of the front spaces would be converted into a loft apartment. The main façade of the building would remain as is. She invited the Echo for a meeting to discuss the alterations.

According to the City’s application for rezoning, Heritage Western Cape required a heritage assessment for the proposed development as the building is older than 60 years.

According to a report, submitted by Tommy Brümmer Town Planners as part of the application, the property was historically never used for residential purposes, and the current building was constructed in the late 1920s.

For Windsor Road,the report says, the period between 1910 and 1930 is regarded as one of building and renewal and stands virtually unchanged today.

The report states that in those years, Windsor Road was alive with shops, a bar, the cobblers and the many children of the families that were living there.

Later years saw the decline of the area. However in recent years, the area has grown again in popularity.

The building on Erf 89852 is associated with Harris Schechter, who was a fish trader. He submitted building plans for a very big premises to be used for “general business”.

According to the report, it was only after the building was completed in 1920 and the City sought answers from him about his plans for a fish-curing plant on the property, that much controversy started, which involved the central government, the municipality, various ratepayers’ associations as well as local businesses and newcomers who were concerned about a decline in property values.

Meanwhile, the local fishermen wanted the plant in order to protect their livelihood and the fishing community.

A permit to operate a fish-curing plant was eventually granted for a year, and despite all the discussion generated by the proposal, there were no complaints about its operation, the report says.

A municipal inspection found the fish-curing plant had closed after two years, following which the building became a small shop, builders’ storeroom and later, the Marine Billiard Club.

The property was also rented to Billie Williamson, the famous English airman who apparently built an aeroplane there from scratch and which was later taken out in sections and assembled at Youngsfield.

In 1935 the building was occupied by Edwards Motor Transport and the Kalk Bay Car Hire Service.

After Harris Schechter’s death in 1940, the property was divided and the warehouse building sold to Calder Brothers.

It was around this time that Leon Klein rented the building and ran a business with his wife, providing parking and storage for customers’ cars.

In 1947 Tommy Fall bought the building and installed petrol pumps and demolished the boundary wall to enable petrol tankers to access the site to off-load their fuel.

Over recent years, the building was renovated and used as an art gallery, an office and workshops.

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