Local heritage in NSW is protected under the NSW Heritage Act 1977 and the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979. Locally significant heritage is ‘listed’ on the relevant Local Environmental Plans (varying dates) which apply to each Local Government Area. Local heritage is listed on Schedule 5 of the Local Environmental Plan.
There are three key distinctions to make about the local heritage listed in Schedule 5, they generally fall into three categories: Heritage Items, Heritage Conservation Areas, and Archaeological Sites. These three categories are important because they tell you about the type of heritage protected.
Heritage Items are generally buildings which have historical significance for the local area. As such, changes to the building structure is regulated (that is, needs to be addressed in any Development Application for the building). Sometimes the grounds and landscaping around a building will also form part of the listing and thus changes to these are also regulated by Council. Generally, the boundaries of the Heritage Items will be listed according Lot and DP (Deposited Plan). They are usually one Lot and DP, but it may be several depending on the Heritage Item. The heritage material listed within its listed boundary often varies, sometimes it will just be the building in the boundary and in other instances it will include other things in the Lot and DP, for example the grounds and landscaping.
In summary, Heritage Items – think buildings.
Heritage Conservation Areas
Heritage Items are often bounded by a single Lot and DP, whereas Heritage Conservation Areas often comprise several Lot and DPs and often extend over entire street blocks. Heritage Conservation Areas are generally made up of groups of buildings or other heritage features such as monuments, parkland, and landscapes. These groups of buildings or features are often representative of a particular neighbourhood character which represents a particular period of the history of the area. A Development Application within a Heritage Conservation Area will have to demonstrate how the proposed development aligns with the general character of the Heritage Conservation Area.
In summary, Heritage Conservation Areas – think groups of buildings or features of a particular character.
Archaeological sites occur wherever there is below ground evidence for human occupation. Sometimes there are above ground features which show that there is archaeology below, but often there are no surface features, or the archaeology has been covered over by modern buildings. A key point to note is that the Schedule 5 will only list archaeological sites which have been previously identified. It is not a comprehensive list and thus archaeological sites may still be present in your project area despite their being no archaeological site listing in the Local Environmental Plan. If your development is within an archaeological site, local Council will require an archaeological assessment as part of the Development Application. However, an archaeological assessment may also be required for unlisted archaeological sites.
In summary, Archaeological sites – think below ground.
There are three categories of local Heritage:
- Heritage Items,
- Heritage Conservation Areas, and
- Archaeological Sites.
The Local Council Development Application requirements will differ according to the type of local heritage you have within your project area.