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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.

Heritage listings and development

Port Stephens Local Environmental Plan 2013 identifies items of heritage significance, heritage conservation areas and archaeological sites. This ensures significant heritage is identified, protected and managed, allowing the environmental, social and economic benefits of these valuable assets realised into the future.

Heritage items, heritage conservation areas and archaeological sites are listed in Schedule 5 of Port Stephens Local Environmental Plan 2013.

Heritage Conservation Areas

A Heritage Conservation Area is a geographic area containing many different elements which collectively have heritage significance. It may consist of a particular precinct, streetscape, suburb, landscape, town or group of buildings and collectively has particular values which distinguish it from other places and from its surroundings. It is an area in which its historical origins and contributory elements create a sense of place that the community values.

There are two Heritage Conservation Areas within the Port Stephens Local Government Area:

  • Raymond Terrace;
  • Hinton.

To check whether your property is located within a Heritage Conservation Area, search Schedule 5 of the Port Stephens Local Environmental Plan 2013, apply for a Planning Certificate or contact the Strategic Planning Team for advice.

Heritage items

A heritage item is defined as a building, work, archaeological site, tree or place that has heritage significance. Heritage items can be built or natural forms, archaeological or maritime heritage, movable heritage or items/sites that are significant to Aboriginal people.

To check whether your property is a heritage item, search Schedule 5 of the Port Stephens Local Environmental Plan 2013, apply for a Planning Certificate or contact the Strategic Planning Team for advice.

A copy of inventory sheets for Port Stephens heritage items can be viewed from the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage

Development Control

Part B8 of the Port Stephens Development Control Plan 2014 (DCP) applies to development that is situated on land that contains a heritage item or within a heritage conservation area. Part B8 of the DCP provides more detailed heritage provisions than those contained in Clause 5.10 of the Port Stephens Local Environmental Plan 2013, ensuring that new sustainable development respects and does not compromise the heritage significance of heritage items and their setting.

Apart from general heritage guidelines, Part B8 also provides specific provisions for:

  • heritage impacts;
  • minor nature (maintenance work);
  • demolition; and
  • Aboriginal heritage.

Maintenance and changes to or near heritage areas and items

Council has produced the following brochures to help you understand heritage issues in your area and how to proceed with your development.

Council's Heritage Advisor is available, at no cost, to discuss your plans and development proposals. Please contact the Strategic Planning Team to schedule an appointment.

Work that does not require development consent

If Council determines the proposed development is of a minor nature or consists of maintenance of the heritage item and would not adversely affect its heritage significance or impact a Heritage Conservation Area.

If this is the case, the proponent must notify the consent authority in writing of the proposed development. The consent authority must have then advised the applicant in writing that it is satisfied that the proposed development consent is not otherwise required, before any work can be carried out.

Examples of work that requires development consent:

  • demolition of a heritage item;
  • altering a heritage item by making structural changes to its interior;
  • altering a heritage item by making structural or non-structural changes to the detail, fabric, finish or appearance of its exterior. The exception being changes resulting from any maintenance necessary for its ongoing protective care which does not adversely affect its heritage significance, that have been authorised in writing by Council;
  • erecting a building within a heritage conservation area;
  • subdividing land on which a heritage item is located or that is within a heritage conservation area; and
  • moving the whole or part of a heritage item.

Interim Heritage Orders

Interim Heritage Orders are made by the Minister on the recommendation of the Heritage Council or by local Council's under delegation. They generally are used when a potential heritage item or relic is discovered that may not have had a prior heritage or significance assessment undertaken and may be earmarked for change (eg discovery of an older house or item previously overlooked or hidden amongst other structures).

The purpose of an Interim Heritage Order is to provide a 'breathing space' of no more than 12 months during which a full heritage assessment can be completed. Temporary in nature, the majority of Interim Heritage Orders are made in response to community representations or concerns raised by local government.

Building information certification application

Apply for a building information certificate to make sure your property and land can remain as is.

Each year Council provides small grants to assist heritage projects through the Local Heritage Assistance Fund. Council administers this fund with support from the Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Heritage Branch.

The purpose of the fund is to provide financial support for the owners of heritage listed items and items in conservation areas identified in the Port Stephens Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2013. This small grants program encourages conservation works to commercial, residential and other places of heritage value within the Local Government Area (LGA). The fund seeks to engender greater interest and awareness of conservation for local heritage items.

Port Stephens Council established a formal Heritage Committee in 2002 as part of the requirement for undertaking a heritage study of the LGA.

Regular committee meetings are held in respect to the historic environment and through this forum the various heritage interest groups in the area have an opportunity, through Council, to actively participate in the conservation and management of the areas important heritage buildings, places and items.

The Heritage Committee undertakes some of the following tasks:

  • monitoring of the Port Stephens Council Heritage Policy;
  • act as a forum for knowledge of the built, natural and cultural environment within the LGA;
  • assist Council's Heritage Advisor in with local and historic knowledge;
  • assistance with identification of projects eligible for Local Heritage Assistance Funding and other funding;
  • make recommendations to Council on policies, guidelines and plans concerning the heritage implications and conservation of the built, natural and cultural environment;
  • promote the cause for heritage conservation, ongoing education, awareness and enhancement of the built, natural and cultural environment throughout the LGA; and
  • undertake research of the built, natural and cultural heritage of the LGA and to make recommendations for additions to the LEP schedule.

Council appointed a Heritage Advisor in 2005 to assist both Council and residents in the conservation and management of heritage listed items. The Heritage Advisory Service can provide preliminary advice to applicants and property owners in the LGA on heritage matters and assist with heritage related development applications. This service is generally free. Council’s Heritage Advisor visits twice a month, generally once a fortnight.

Advice can include information on: renovation, redevelopment, colour schemes, extensions, verandahs, awnings and fences as well as more comprehensive advice on the integration of new development in older or conservation areas. The advice is of a general nature and should be considered as the starting point for more extensive work that may require an architect, builder or designer. It will assist your application if you can bring along sketches, photographs or examples of what you are considering.

Council's Heritage Advisor also includes (but not limited to) the following services:

  • work with Council to develop and deliver a heritage strategy in consultation with Council's Heritage Advisory Committee;
  • ensure effective statutory management of heritage and provide advice to Council on Development Applications, Part 5 Applications and Planning Proposals involving heritage items draft/potential heritage items and Heritage Conservation Areas;
  • provide professional advice to the community on heritage related issues and work with key stakeholder groups;
  • provide educational and promotional opportunities for heritage and promote sustainable management of heritage;
  • initiate research and studies for improved heritage management and produce heritage reports and other heritage documentation as required;
  • promote incentives, including grants and funding for heritage;
  • assist Council in managing its heritage assets; and
  • establish, in consultation with the local library and historical society, the collection of heritage resource material, including photographs, to assist heritage management and promotion in the area.

Find out more about Council’s Development Application process.

Contact Details
Strategic Planning Team
Phone: (02) 4988 0326