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Heritage & development


How does a heritage listing affect development applications? 

If a property is listed as a heritage item or is located in a conservation area, Council must consider the effect that any development will have on the heritage significance of the heritage item or conservation area.  A brief statement of significance for a heritage item or conservation area is included on the heritage inventory sheet for the heritage item or conservation area. When lodging a development application for a heritage item, an updated assessment of significance, including an updated statement of significance, will need to be prepared for the heritage impact statement. Copies of heritage inventory sheets can be downloaded from Heritage NSW website.

For development affecting a heritage item, Council will carefully consider the impact that the work will have on the significance of the heritage item. The design of any additions will also be assessed to determine how well they are integrated with the original building or heritage item.

In the case of development affecting a conservation area, Council will consider the effect development will have on the heritage value of the precinct. The fact that there may be inappropriate development in the conservation area is not justification for carrying out unsympathetic development. 

For places in the vicinity of a heritage item or conservation area, Council will consider whether the proposed development detracts from the importance of the heritage item in the local streetscape or townscape or from the character of the conservation area. 

What should I do if I want to develop a heritage item or a building located in a conservation area?

A pre-lodgement meeting is recommended if you are undertaking substantial alterations to a heritage item or to a building in a conservation area.

It will often be beneficial to engage the services of a heritage consultant to assist in the preparation of your development application. A list of heritage consultants has been compiled by the Heritage NSW. Please note that Council cannot endorse the work of any of the consultants included in this list.  You should make your own checks on the standard of work of any of these consultants prior to engaging them. 

In addition to the information normally required for a development application, your documentation will need to include:

  • Details of colours and materials proposed for the development, and 

  • A Statement of Heritage Impact prepared by an appropriate heritage consultant. 

Can I demolish a heritage item or a place within a conservation area?

The demolition of heritage items and places that contribute to the heritage significance of a conservation area is contrary to Council’s development controls.

Does my development proposal need to mimic the heritage building, or other buildings in the conservation area?

New work may be sympathetic if its siting, setbacks, bulk, form, scale, character, colour, texture and materials are similar to the existing fabric, but imitations should be avoided. It is better to complement the existing architectural qualities of a heritage item or of contributory buildings in a conservation area using a sympathetic modern design solution for the development.  New work must be carefully designed.  It is important to remember a few basic principles to consider in your design: 


Good design will respond to the scale of surrounding development.  Where it is necessary for new buildings or additions to be larger in scale than surrounding development, it may be appropriate to break down the bulk of the building by dividing long sections of wall into bays or breaking up the bulk of the building into smaller elements.  Setting back higher sections of the building might also help to respond to a dominant lower scale in the streetscape.  


Form refers to the overall shape and volume of a building.  For heritage items, the form of the building as it is seen from the public realm is often of particular importance.  New work should ensure that the original form of the building is retained and is clearly visible.  In many conservation areas, the streetscape is strengthened by the repetitive form of the component buildings.  Infill in these areas should aim to reinforce the cohesive nature of the streetscape.  Additions and alterations to heritage buildings and of contributory buildings in a conservation area should ensure that the main form of the building is retained, particularly where the form makes a contribution to the streetscape or townscape.   


Siting refers to the location and orientation of a building on the site.  The setbacks of a building from the boundaries and its alignment with other buildings in the vicinity is often important in establishing a streetscape.  New development affecting heritage items or places in conservation areas should be sited to respect existing patterns in the streetscape.  Orientation of the main façade of a building to the street and setbacks of ancillary elements such as garages and outbuildings are particularly important.  

Materials and colour

Materials and colour are of particular importance in the presentation of heritage items and conservation areas.  Consistent streetscapes that make up conservation areas usually have predominant materials, texture and colours.  Additions to heritage items and infill buildings should carefully consider established materials, textures and colours.  Incorporating these in new work often helps to unify the design. 


Details such as verandahs, chimneys, eave overhangs, fences, garden layouts and window types are distinctive features of many heritage buildings and streetscapes.  Details that contribute to the character of a heritage item or a building within a conservation area should be conserved.  Infill in a conservation area should consider the importance of details to original buildings in the area and how they can be re-interpreted in the new building.