Heritage Listing - A Guide for Property Owners

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, Council has responsibility for identifying the area’s heritage assets and protecting them through environmental planning instruments. There are two levels of statutory listing:

  • The most common type of heritage listing in Willoughby is listing on the Willoughby Local Environmental Plan 2012 (WLEP 2012). Places listed on a local environmental plan have been assessed as being significant to the local community.
  • The listings on the State Heritage Register by the Heritage Council under the NSW Heritage Act 1977 are items recognised as being significant to the whole of New South Wales as well as to the local community.

Also refer to the Willoughby Development Control Plan (WDCP) Part H, which provides more detailed heritage provisions than contained in WLEP 2012, ensuring that new development respects and does not compromise the heritage significance of heritage items and their setting.

Benefits of Heritage Listing

  • There is growing evidence to support the view that the maintenance of heritage qualities can contribute positively to property values.
  • Heritage listing provides advance knowledge about the approvals process, providing greater certainty for owners and intending purchasers that future changes to the property and surrounds will be sympathetic.
  • Development in the vicinity of a heritage item is assessed by Council to determine whether there will be any detrimental impacts on the heritage property and its setting.
  • The research and assessment process leading to a listing often results in new information on the historical background of the item.
  • Council will consider other uses for a property even though it might be prohibited by other planning provisions provided the proposed use is appropriate and will conserve the heritage item.
  • Concessions are also possible for determining the floor space ratio and parking requirements of new development. These incentives may significantly increase the property value of a heritage item.
  • Access to free heritage advisory services provided by Council including advice from Council’s heritage architect and planning staff to assist property owners with alterations, additions and conservation.
  • Development application fees are waived for owners of a heritage item.

Facts about Heritage Listing

  • Heritage listing does not oblige owners to open their property to the public.
  • There is no obligation to restore a listed place.
  • Repairs and maintenance of heritage items normally do not require development consent providing no new materials are introduced as part of the maintenance work: i.e. roof tiles may be replaced with roof tiles that match the colour, finish and detail of the existing roof tiles. If in doubt refer to the Willoughby Local Environmental Plan 2012 or contact Council staff.
  • Minor work might be considered to be exempt development in some circumstances. If in doubt contact Council’s staff for advice on whether proposed work is considered to be maintenance or minor work that would be exempt from a development application. See State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes 2008).
  • Buildings are best cared for when they are lived in, this means that they must be useable. Upgrading kitchen, bathroom, services and extensions to meet contemporary standards are commonly approved changes.
  • Additions should respect the original but do not need to copy it. It can be quite appropriate for new work to be in a contemporary style, depending
    upon siting.
  • Development consent from Council is required for alterations, additions and extensions to a heritage item. A development application for such work must demonstrate that careful consideration has been given to any impact on the heritage significance of the item and must be accompanied with a Heritage Impact Statement (refer to WDCP Part H.1.3).
  • Council considers every application for work to heritage properties on a case-by-case basis, to assess the impact on the significance of each property.
  • The heritage listing applies to the whole property and any element which contributes to the heritage significance of the item. This may include floor plan layout, internal detailing and/or fittings and fixtures, external setting including pathways, existing hard surfaces, gardens, fencing, landscape features and trees.