Heritage property protection and regulations

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Properties that have significant architectural merit, social history, aboriginal history, industrial history or landscape value to the North Sydney area can be categorised as either:

You can find listed heritage properties in our area by:

Heritage Items

Heritage items are individual buildings, structures and places of individual value. A Heritage Item listing covers the entire property, including the land, gardens, site features, building interiors and exteriors.

Significant elements of items may extend beyond the lot boundary to include the surrounding setting and the visual links with other related properties and surrounding vantage points, such as the waterfront and street. This is known as the
'visual curtilage'.

With Council consent, Heritage Items may be used for any purpose including those not ordinarily permitted within its zone, provided that it will not reduce its heritage significance, residential density or surrounding amenity.

Conservation Areas

Conservation areas are areas in which the historic origins and relationships between various elements create a cohesive sense of place that is worth keeping.

Elements that make the conservation areas significant may include subdivision patterns, consistency of age, style or materials of the building stock, streetscapes (including lanes), landscaping, and street verges. For all buildings in conservation areas, the conservation area listing focuses
on the external envelope of buildings, gardens, and site structures.

There are three types of conservation area listings:
•     contributory items
•     neutral items
•     uncharacteristic elements.

All heritage-listed properties are eligible for reduced land tax. Owners of heritage items and buildings in conservation areas can request a heritage restricted valuation, which can adjust the land tax to reflect the existing property value rather than the land’s maximum redevelopment potential.

Owners of heritage items that produce income may also be able to claim tax deductions for maintenance and repair work or depreciation against the assessed income.

Heritage property maintenance

If you wish to carry out minor maintenance on a Heritage Item property, you can request approval from Council by writing to us. If we confirm Council approval in a written response to you, there's no need to submit a formal Development Application (under Clause 45 (2) of the LEP).

Examples of maintenance work that require written permission from Council include:

  • external painting of Heritage Items or premises in a Conservation Area
  • replacement of roofing or external windows

If we don't provide written consent for the works, you may need to submit a Development Application, which is required for most changes to the land, buildings and structures on the site of heritage items. 

Our planning advisors can provide more guidance.

Submit a Heritage Maintenance enquiry

If you do need to submit a Development Application, you will need to provide a Statement of Heritage Impact unless advised otherwise by Council. Read the guidelines for preparing a statement of heritage impact.

A Conservation Management Plan may be required for major work to heritage items and work to heritage items of state and regional significance.

Heritage property restrictions

Owners or potential buyers of heritage properties need to assess the suitability of the property for their current and future needs as requirements beyond those provided by the existing property may not be able to be accommodated, such as:

  • heritage items and buildings in conservation areas can not be demolished
  • additions need to be located to the rear (not on the main facades) and be smaller in scale than the original building
  • additional storeys to heritage items and buildings in conservation areas are generally not supported. Some additional accommodation within the existing roofspace (involving small changes to the roof form located away from main facades) may be supported
  • lot subdivision or amalgamation is generally not supported
  • off-street parking may be restricted - with no covered car shelters in front of the building line (in the front garden), or facade demolition for garaging
  • sandstone retaining walls, rock-faces, fences, curbs and gutters, seawalls and decorative features of buildings should be retained, which may restrict car access
  • changes to window openings, new openings, and fence heights may be restricted - fences to a maximum of 1.2metres (to streets) and 1.5metres (to lanes)
  • development around heritage items will be regulated under the heritage controls, even if the neighbouring properties are not heritage listed.
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