Tips for renovating or Developing a Heritage Property

Heritage Applications are required for any structure older than 60 years as these are automatically a protected heritage resource and may not be altered without prior permission of the Provincial Heritage Resource Agency Gauteng (PHRAG). Most Johannesburg townships/suburbs date back to before 1960, so it is becoming an increasingly common requirement for homeowners and developers to prepare a submission to PHRAG motivating the changes they wish to make. 

It is a requirement of the Act that the local residents’ associations or heritage bodies give comment on this submission. This may sound like a daunting and bureaucratic process but the intention is a good one that strives to protect special buildings and the character of the neighbourhood. To assist and help facilitate this process, Johannesburg Heritage Foundation runs three Joint Plans Committees (JPCs), and has a team of town planners, architects and heritage specialists to call on when making the assessment.

The Central JPC covers the city centre, Parktown, Westcliff, Forest Town and Parkview.

The JPC East covers Kensington to Doornfontein, Modderfontein to Melrose, and includes Upper and Lower Houghton, Norwood, Orchards, Oaklands, The Gardens, Sydenham and Sandringham – broadly, the north-eastern suburbs.

The JPC West covers Fietas to Melville, Brixton to Northcliff, and broadly covers the suburbs west and north-west of the city.

The JPC’s constructive input can be useful in highlighting any heritage-related issues that need to be considered prior to construction, and their approval can go a long way towards getting the go-ahead from the relevant authorities. The JPC’s can also intervene if they identify an unauthorised development, potentially causing delays in construction or even injunctions. So, it’s a good idea to approach the JPC’s sooner rather than later for their feedback.

If you have any queries or questions, please email Please include a brief description of your property, the proposed renovation/development and its physical address so we can send it to the relevant JPC.

Additional information and downloadable documents can be found here:

Here is a short document with some heritage hints for homeowners and developers, prepared by the Greenside Residents Association.

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