Boost for heritage square

The Durbanville town hall.

A coffee shop could soon give Durbanville’s Pampoenkraal heritage development a caffeine injection.

This comes after Sub-council 7 asked the City’s property management department to find the best way to attract people to the historical site that surrounds Durbanville town hall.

The City is spending R10 million on upgrading the site as a heritage drawcard.

The idea of including a coffee shop in the heady heritage mix being brewed at the site was raised at earlier sub-council meetings, and it was given a jolt after a City official recommended to Monday’s sub-council meeting that the City should lease the site to a business for five years with an option for a long-term lease if all went well.

Rheinhardt van Wijk, an asset and facilities management official, told sub-council that that option would bypass rezoning issues and speed up the process, while freeing the City from any maintenance and associated costs.

He cited a study by consultancy firm, Urban-Econ Development Economists, which found a coffee shop could draw about 350 customers a week, including professionals, retirees and students.

Mr Van Wijk said the study found there was an ‘under supply’ of niche coffee shops in the area, especially outdoor, child-friendly ones.

He said the development would help to percolate renewed public interest in the town hall and surrounds.

The Durbanville town hall has historically been used by the community to host events such as birthday parties, community conferences and meetings. And it is hoped that the new

Pampoenkraal will play host to weddings, craft markets, concerts and more.

“This town hall has historical value and it has to remain at the centre of the community. There is no other facility such as this, in Durbanville,” said Ward 112 councillor Theresa Uys.

The first phase of the Pampoenkraal Heritage Square was officially opened on Friday June 30 (“Durbanville has ‘unique offering’,” Northern News July 6).

At the time, deputy mayor Ian Neilson encouraged the Durbanville community to build on the area’s rich heritage and tourism offerings saying the area provided a unique offering with its wine valley, rich heritage and modern character.

The Pampoenkraal Heritage Site project is one of the biggest heritage developments in the city. Once completed, the Pampoenkraal-Uitspanplek, with its feeding trough, water fountain and other historical elements, is expected to once again be the heritage heart of Durbanville… and with a coffee shop on its doorstep, the town’s leaders are banking on it beating that much faster.