Newlands Rugby Stadium tender process complete

Newlands Rugby Stadium has been left empty after the Western Province Rugby Football Union moved to the Cape Town Stadium in February 2021. PHOTO: Nettalie Viljoen

The sealed tender process for Newlands Rugby Stadium has been completed, “subject to the outcome of the current heritage site application being reviewed by Heritage Western Cape (HWC).”

Rian Oberholzer, the administrator appointed by SA Rugby to manage the affairs of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU), has shared the news with People’s post Last week.

The first meeting with HWC’s Inventory, Classification and Interpretation Committee (IGIC) was held on Friday August 5th.

“WPRFU, through the Office of the Administrator, will respond to the heritage request within the timeframe provided,” Oberholzer said.

In February, the WPRFU and SA Rugby announced that the stadium was to be put on the market through a sealed tender process.

According Sport24the sale was due to be signed on Tuesday, June 14, with the winning bid to be announced at the end of the month.

A request in June for the iconic stadium to be declared a provincial heritage site, however, raised concerns that it could lead to the sealed bidding process being sabotaged.

If the stadium is declared a provincial heritage site, it means that it cannot be demolished to make way for new developments.

Former Springbok captain Wynand Claassen, who represents a group called the Save Newlands Rugby Stadium Campaign, said the bid was submitted by heritage specialist Leonie Marais on behalf of the group on Monday June 6.

Claassen says the nomination is not intended to prevent or interfere with dealings in the affected property between the owner and potential buyers, but is intended to ensure the stadium is declared a heritage site.

“During this IGIC meeting, our team presented and reasoned our case for the preservation and development of Newlands Stadium into a living museum to become one of the country’s premier tourist attractions,” he said. -he declares.

In the historical notes presented by the group at the IGIC meeting, Claassen (who is also a professional architect) pointed out that Newlands Rugby Stadium, whose ground was purchased in 1888, was the oldest rugby stadium in the world.

He wrote that many great moments were captured on the playing field and that the stadium had a huge impact on social cohesion, nation building and recreation.

“For this reason alone the stadium should be retained, not demolished and redeveloped for a new purpose, due to Western Province Rugby’s move to Cape Town Stadium,” Claassen said.

According to documents filed with HWC, the group says its intention is to create a living museum and entertainment center “that would include a mixed-use development plan and minor alterations to current structures or designs.”

“The pavilion is to be used as a base for building shops, offices, restaurants and bars, with open balconies and walkways overlooking the grounds,” the notes say.

Claassen says the proposed project will focus on social, accommodation, business, entertainment, artists’ studios and heritage uses.

“Since our application was submitted, HWC has not requested any additional information, as they were satisfied with our application,” he says.

Michael Janse van Rensburg, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of (HWC), confirms that a request to declare Newlands Rugby Stadium a Provincial Heritage Site was received in June.

He says the property nomination process is not affected by the sale.

Janse van Rensburg explains that for a resource to be nominated for a heritage site, it must have particular qualities that make it significant in the context of a province or region. He says the application is currently in a consultation period with owners.

“The significance of a site is established in consultation with all relevant stakeholders,” he says.

As for when a final decision will be made on the application, Janse van Rensburg says it’s hard to say.

“A finalization time is specific to each case, depending on its complexity. That remains to be determined,” he said.

Meanwhile, members of Western Cape Club Rugby have expressed concern that they will be left behind by the sale of the stadium.

Traditionally, their Super League A, B, C and knockout matches take place at the Newlands venue in October.

“Although details of the fixtures and fittings relating to Club Rugby are yet to be finalised, it is likely that the preferred venue will be City Park,” Oberholzer said.

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