Heritage Frequently Asked Questions
This information is intended to be a quick reference point for commonly asked heritage questions. It does not replace the legal requirements of Camden Local Environmental Plan 2010 (LEP), Chapter B3: Environmental Heritage of Camden Development Control Plan 2011 (DCP), the Heritage Act (NSW) 1977 and any other requirements.
Camden's heritage is made up of a combination of significant places, buildings, works, relics, moveable objects and precincts. It comprises elements of both the natural and built environment and their related landscape settings; as well as Aboriginal items and places.
Heritage is something that we have inherited from the past. It informs us of our history as well as giving us a sense of cultural value and identity. Heritage places are those that we wish to protect and pass on to future generations so that they too can understand the value and significance of past generations.
Heritage makes up an important part of the character of the Camden Local Government Area (LGA) and is held in high esteem by the Camden community. The high quality of heritage in Camden sets it apart from other towns and may be a draw card to visitors (and investment). Places that are identified as heritage places are good examples of a period in time or a type of architecture, which are rare in the LGA. Our heritage is therefore valuable and must be cared for and protected.
Throughout this document, various terms are used which have the following meaning:
A HCA is an area where the historical town layout and relationships between the built, landscaping and streetscape elements creates a sense of place that is special.
While individual buildings within the HCA may not all have sufficient significance to be listed as heritage items, collectively they have a value worth retaining. It is possible for buildings that do not contribute of a HCA, to be redeveloped or modified with a better infill design at a later time.
Two HCAs are identified in LEP 2010. One is focused on the Camden Town (Camden HCA as indicated in figure B4 of the DCP) and the other on Struggletown HCA, in Narellan (figure B6 of the DCP).
It is possible that other HCAs may be identified in the future as being of heritage significance.
Camden Hertiage Conservation Area
Camden HCA has heritage significance for the following reasons:
For more information on Heritage places in Camden, see the Camden Heritage Walk brochure.
Struggletown Hertiage Conservation Area
The Struggletown HCA consists of the remnants of original 19th century subdivision and cottages along Sharman Close. This area is prominently located at the junction of Camden Valley Way and the Northern Road. It contains some remnant early housing which is one of the last remaining intact groups of housing of Narellan.
While individual buildings that make up the HCA do not all contribute to the significance, it is possible for these to be redeveloped or modified with a better infill design at a later time. Development and growth may still occur but this must respect the important character of the township.
Located on the corner of Camden Valley Way, Richardson Rd and Wilson Crescent, Narellan are a group of civic buildings surviving from the original Narellan township. These include St Thomas Chapel, the "School-Church", the cemetery and Narellan Hotel. The School-Church is a significant rare example of a rural colonial church, whilst the cemetery is one of the earliest in the district. The location of St Thomas Chapel and the School-Church on a hill surrounded by open space is significant.
Whilst modern development has occurred around these buildings, the views between these buildings are important and can still be appreciated. These views are illustrated in Figure B7 of Chapter B3: Environmental Heritage of the DCP.
For more information on heritage places in Narellan, see the brochure Heritage Walking Tour of Narellan.
Heritage significance does not just apply to grand or old properties. There are seven established criteria against which heritage significance is determined. These include historic, historic association, aesthetic, social, scientific, rarity and representativeness. These are adopted by the NSW Heritage Branch of the Office of Environment and Heritage and are fully explained in the following documents:
Camden LGA's heritage has been identified in various comprehensive heritage studies over the years with input from the Camden community.
Heritage is listed at the following levels:
An item can be significant at one or more levels. There are also various non-statutory heritage registers such as the Register of National Trust.
There are no current National, Commonwealth or World Heritage items in Camden LGA. Camden has approximately 136 local heritage items plus 2 HCAs of local significance. There are 12 State listed items including important colonial homesteads (e.g. Denbigh homestead and Harrington Park House).
The distinction between levels is not in rank, it is in context. Local items are of relevance locally and valued locally. They are identified and under the guardianship of Camden Council. State items are of relevance and value to the people of NSW. They are under the guardianship of both Council and the Heritage Branch of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
A property is a heritage item if it is:
A property is within the HCA if it is shown within the Conservation Area - General area on the following maps
Properties containing potential heritage items are listed in Tables B4, B5 and B6 and Figures B8 and B9 of Camden DCP 2011.
These items have been flagged as potential heritage items. Further investigation of the heritage significance of these items is required to be carried out on each place when a development application is lodged to determine if the place is of heritage significance.
Heritage listing of a property provides formal recognition by Camden Council and/or the State Government that the property has heritage significance and that the community wants it protected for future generations.
It is important to understand that heritage listing does not prevent future changes. Changes and additions that respect and retain the qualities and characteristics that make the heritage place special are encouraged.
www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/heritagebranch/heritage/HeritageListing2010final.pdf - what does heritage listing mean to you, including the benefits and effects, fact verses myth and how to make sympathetic changes.
All Councils within NSW have a responsibility under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and Heritage Act to protect heritage places through their identification, planning and controls. Camden Council does this in:
Owners of heritage listed properties are required to seek development approval from Camden Council if they wish to make changes which may affect the heritage significance of the place.
The LEP can be downloaded at www.camden.nsw.gov.au/page/camden_local_environment_plan_2010.html
Local heritage listing applies to the whole property. It does not just apply to the front or exterior of the building.
To determine what is of heritage significance on a property, the history of the property and its fabric must be understood. This is best carried out by a heritage consultant who has qualifications and experience in working with heritage buildings. What is of significance must be determined for each property and may include :
The criteria for assessing heritage significance are fully explained in Assessing Heritage Significance produced by the NSW Heritage Office. This can be found at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/heritagebranch/heritage/listings/assessingheritagesignificance.pdf
The aim for new development, changes or additions to heritage places, is to respect and retain the qualities and characteristics that make the heritage place special.
The following documents can be used as a guide to appropriate conservation works and appropriate new development:
Patch repairing old materials on heritage places is preferable to replacing all with new materials. Replacing materials will loose the aged character, which often adds to the significance.
The following are common questions about replacing old material with modern material on heritage places. As a general guide:
Old buildings usually have windows that are of different proportions to modern windows. The windows are usually taller than they are wide; and windows with these proportions should be used.
In the majority of cases, a heritage place cannot be demolished as this is contrary to the reason for the heritage listing, which is to ensure the place is retained for future generations.
Should a heritage place be threatened, Council may apply for an Interim Heritage Order to protect the place under the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW). Court Orders and penalties for breaches can be applied under Part 7 of the Heritage Act.
However, there may be some less significant or even intrusive elements that may be demolished. Development Consent must be obtained and you are encouraged to discuss this at an early stage with Council's Heritage Officer on ph. 4654 7777 or email@example.com
Council requires a Development Application (DA) for the following work to a heritage place to assess its effect on the heritage significance:
See Clause 5.10(2) of Camden LEP 2010.
The NSW Housing Code is contained in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.
Heritage items, potential heritage items and heritage conservation areas; are excluded from the general housing code. Heritage items and potential heritage items are excluded from the Housing Internal Alterations Code. If your property is listed as an item or potential heritage item, then complying development under the NSW Housing Code cannot be carried out.
Some exempt development works can be undertaken on heritage items and conservation areas where there is minimal impact. Details are provided within the exempt development code of the SEPP.
A Development application and a Heritage Management Document (see point 18) may not be required at Council's discretion if the proposed work to a heritage place:
Council offers a free heritage advisory service to achieve good heritage outcomes for work to heritage places. To take advantage of this incentive you must:
Council will respond to the applicant in writing if the work can commence without a DA and any conditions that are required.
Please contact Council's Heritage Officer on 02 4654 7777 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Examples of minor work may include colour schemes, roof repairs, front fences, carports and garages that are designed to be compatible with the heritage significance.
What is Maintenance
Under LEP 2010 maintenance means ongoing protective care, but does not include the removal or disturbance of existing fabric, alterations (such as carrying out extensions or additions) or the introduction of new materials or technology.
As a guide, what is considered minor or maintenance can be obtained from NSW Heritage Office's document: www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/heritagebranch/heritage/StandardExemptions.pdf
For more information see 5.10(3) of the Camden LEP 2010.
Best Maintenance Practices
Owners have a responsibility to undertake basic measures such as inspecting a heritage place regularly and securing and protecting it against weather, fire and vandalism, so that it will not further deteriorate.
To clean heritage buildings, low water pressure and a brush is recommended. If required, only mild detergent should be used. Harsh chemicals and abrasion must be avoided.
The following documents come from the NSW Heritage website www.environment.nsw.gov.au/Heritage/heritagesites.htm. This website also has a lot of other useful heritage information.
A good starting point to determine appropriate colour schemes for heritage buildings is in the s Old Australian Houses or More Colour Schemes for Old Australian Houses by Ian Evans, see www.oldhouses.com.au/.
Proposed work to heritage items of state significance that are on the State Heritage Register (see point 6 of this document), requires consent concurrently from both the NSW Heritage Branch of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and Camden Council. The DA is termed Nominated Integrated Development and requires the following:
Some minor work is exempted from requiring consent from the NSW Heritage Branch of OEH.
See: www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/heritagebranch/heritage/StandardExemptions.pdf and any other site specific exemptions.
A development application for a heritage place should include the following information:
The meaning of terms:
A heritage management document means:
In the vicinity means:
A Heritage Conservation Management Plan means:
A Conservation Management Plan is generally required with a DA for items listed in the State Heritage Register. It may also be required for any major development or subdivision proposals to local heritage items, or where requested by Council.An explanation of what info is provided in a CMP can be obtained from the following link:
The Conservation Plan (2000, Fifth Edition) by James Semple Kerr, is a guide to the preparation of conservation plans for places of European cultural significance. Hard copies are available through the National Trust at email@example.com or phone 02 9258 0161.
A heritage impact statement means a document consisting of:
(a) A statement demonstrating the heritage significance of the heritage place and its setting, and
(b) An assessment of the impact that proposed development will have on that significance, and
(c) Proposals for measures to minimise that impact.
A Heritage Impact Statement (HIS) is expected to be provided with all DAs. The complexity of the HIS depends upon the nature of the work proposed. A guide to writing a HIS can be found in the NSW Heritage Branch website at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/heritagebranch/heritage/hmstatementsofhi.pdf
For more information of these terms see the Dictionary in Camden LEP 2010.
It makes good sense that a Heritage Impact Statement and Conservation Management Plan is prepared by a qualified and experienced Heritage Consultant. Using a heritage consultant will generally assist Council in assessing a DA and speed up the processing time.
Tradespersons experienced in heritage conservation work should also be used to carry out heritage work.
A list of consultants and practitioners can be found at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/HeritageConsultantsDirectory.aspx
To ensure the conservation of Camden's heritage a special incentive is provided in the LEP. For Heritage items listed in Schedule 5 of the LEP or identified Aboriginal places (on the AHIMs register); alternative land uses, that may not be permissible in the zone, are possible with development consent. This can be used provided that the heritage item is conserved.
To use this clause, a DA and HIS must be lodged and council must be satisfied that:
It is stressed that the intent of this incentive clause is for conservation and not just development alone.
Council does not have the resources to provide funding at this stage.
Applications for funding are available on an annual basis from the Heritage Branch of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. These are generally for heritage items on State Heritage Register and for Aboriginal heritage investigations.
For more Information on funding from the Heritage Branch and other sources of funding see http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/Heritage/funding/index.htm
Heritage is not static. New items and architectural styles emerge as having significance as time passes. If a place is not listed as a heritage place or potential heritage item, and it appears to have some heritage value, the impact on heritage significance can still be considered by Council when assessing a development application under Section 79c of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
New heritage nominations must fulfill one of the seven criteria established by the NSW Heritage Branch. This requires extensive research of the history and assessment of significance (see point 5). It involves community consultation on what new places should be listed. New heritage places cannot be listed in a piecemeal method. But are considered as a community based comprehensive heritage study.
As Council becomes aware of new potential items, a list is kept for consideration at the next comprehensive heritage study review. Please contact Council's Heritage Officer on ph. 4654 7777 to add items to this list for future consideration.
Any site may contain significant archaeological relics related to the European settlement of the Camden LGA. An archaeological site may be a known (refer to Table B6 Of DCP 2011) or a site that is discovered as part of site investigations or development.
Where a development proposes disturbance to an archaeological site or relic, the applicant must contact the Heritage Branch, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage for compliance with the statutory requirements.
NSW Heritage Branch
If you think that you have found an archaeological relic or site, contact the historical archaeologist at the Heritage Branch on (02) 9873 8500.
Aboriginal people are the cultural owners of information relating to their heritage. It is vital to Aboriginal people and to the richness of Camden's heritage that these important spiritual and cultural links to land are maintained by preserving and protecting places of cultural significance.
Camden Council is committed to and required by law to preserve and minimise harm to items and sites of Aboriginal heritage significance.
The principle legislation relating to Aboriginal Heritage within NSW are the following:
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) administer a register of Aboriginal Items called the Aboriginal Heritage Inventory Management System (AHIMS). This is not a comprehensive list of Aboriginal Items but is a starting point for investigation.
An Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit (AHIP) is required from OEH for any activity likely to have an impact on Aboriginal objects and places before work takes place. This includes known Aboriginal items identified in Table B7 of the DCP, identified on the AHIMS register, or an Aboriginal item discovered as part of site investigations or development.
An AHIP is not required in any of the following cases:
The Due Diligence assessment can be done by anyone and includes all of the following steps as a minimum:-
Organisations and contacts which may be useful for historical research include:
Guides to undertaking historical research can be found at:
For Local and State items in Camden LGA:
For State items in Camden LGA:
NSW Heritage Branch
For Federal, Commonwealth and World heritage Items:
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
For Aboriginal heritage items: