No permit for Arthur Nathan

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Sabrina Dean & Refilwe Mekoa

Plans to install a funicular or ratchet car system from the Arthur Nathan swimming-pool to the restaurant at the top of Naval Hill in Bloemfontein were revealed during the Managaung Integrated Development Plan Budget Conference last week. However, the Free State Provincial Heritage Resource Authority (PRHA) says it hasn’t yet received any permit applications for the addition of the funicular system at the Arthur Nathan complex, or even restoration work, which the Metro has allegedly budgeted for. Loudine Philip, chairperson of the Free State PRHA Permits Committee says, “The municipality is fully aware that they would require a permit from Heritage FS for both restoration and any planned alteration and could possibly be in the process of appointing someone to lodge a permit application with us on their behalf.”

She says a member of the public has informed the PRHA of the current poor condition of the Arthur Nathan swimming-pool complex. “The allocation of funds for its restoration is good news indeed,” she said in response to a query submitted by Bloemfontein Courant.
Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality Council Member Papiki Moeng told the conference last week the metro has already commenced with work on the redevelopment of Naval Hill. He said phase one projects have commenced and are currently in the tender phase.
According to Moeng, the planned funicular system will form part of phase two and is reportedly supposed to run from the historic Arthur Nathan swimming-pool complex, a provincial heritage site, to the restaurant at the top of Naval Hill.

Philip said the swimming-pool complex enjoys heritage protection under Section 34 of the National Heritage Resources Act, which concerns a structure older than 60 years. She says in addition, the Arthur Nathan swimming-pool complex is a formally declared heritage building and was considered a national monument under the former act. This status applies to the entire property on which the complex is located. “With the commencement of the new heritage law in 1999 this automatically became a provincial heritage site in terms of Section 58 (11) of this act,” she said.

According to Philip, in cases where a site is formally declared, appropriate research must be completed and attention paid to the finer details of the site. “For example, they have to match the colour of the particular type of paint first used for the pool,” she says.
She says this can become very detailed and costly and the municipality should undertake necessary research before even applying for the permit. “When they bring the permit application in, we have to see what paint are they going to use, what the whole renovation process entails and so forth,” she said. The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality had not responded to a query about the permit application by deadline.

sabrina@centralmediagroup.co.za