Undertaking heritage works without consent

In This Section

When is consent not required?

If you are proposing to carry out development to a heritage item or to a building, work, relic, tree or place in a heritage conservation area, and the development is considered by Council to be of a minor nature or maintenance, development consent may not be necessary. However, you will need to notify Council of the proposal and obtain a written response from Council advising that consent is not required before development commences.

For proposed works to a tree, contact Council's Tree Officers on 02 9391 7000.

Clause 5.10 (3) of Woollahra LEP 2014 states that development consent is not required if:

  • the applicant has notified the consent authority of the proposed development and the consent authority has advised the applicant in writing before any work is carried out that it is satisfied that the proposed development:
    • is of a minor nature or is for the maintenance of the heritage item, Aboriginal object, Aboriginal place of heritage significance or archaeological site or a building, work, relic, tree or place within the heritage conservation area, and
    • would not adversely affect the heritage significance of the heritage item, Aboriginal object, Aboriginal place, archaeological site or heritage conservation area.
  • the development is in a cemetery or burial ground and the proposed development:
    • is the creation of a new grave or monument, or excavation or disturbance of land for the purpose of conserving or repairing monuments or grave markers, and
    • would not cause disturbance to human remains, relics, Aboriginal objects in the form of grave goods, or to an Aboriginal place of heritage significance, or
  • the development is limited to the removal of a tree or other vegetation that the Council is satisfied is a risk to human life or property, or
  • the development is exempt development.

Note: Clause 5.10 (3) cannot be applied retrospectively. Exempt development is listed in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 and in Schedule 2 of Woollahra LEP 2014.

Written confirmation that the works do not require development consent under clause 5.10 of Woollahra LEP 2014 does not provide exemption from another type of consent, approval or permit required from the Council or another authority. For example, minor works and maintenance to heritage items which are also listed on the State Heritage Register, may require consent under the Heritage Act 1977.

Archaeological relics in NSW are protected under the Heritage Act 1977. Contact Heritage NSW (02 9873 8500) before starting works in the vicinity of any archaeological relics.

Aboriginal objects in NSW are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. Contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service (02 9995 5000) before starting works in the vicinity of any Aboriginal object.

Applicants will need to provide the relevant consent, approval or permit from other authorities as part of their application to Council under clause 5.10(3) of Woollahra LEP 2014.

Are the works for maintenance or development of a minor nature?

You will need to provide details of the proposed development so that Council can be satisfied the works are maintenance or minor in nature and will not adversely impact on the heritage significance of the heritage conservation area or heritage item. The application form (PDF) sets out the information which must be submitted:

The following will not be considered:

  • Development that has already been carried out
  • Development that is currently the subject of a Development Application or a notice order under various Acts, especially the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and the Local Government Act 1993.
  • Development that is contravening a DA or CDC condition
  • Complete demolition of significant built elements that can be repaired
  • Construction of carports, driveways or hardstands
  • Construction of swimming pools or tennis courts

As a general guide, we will consider development that is specified as exempt development under Division 1 of Part 2 in State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 which is excluded from or limited in some way in that Policy due to its location in a heritage conservation area or its association with a heritage item.

Note: Part 2 contains the Exempt Development Codes and Division 1 is the General Exempt Development Code.

For example;


  • Painting of a traditionally painted surface. This would exclude:
    • Painting of face brick, stonework, tiling, terracotta, slate and other surfaces that were not traditionally painted;
    • Painted building identification signs and painted wall signs.
  • Plastering or rendering of surfaces traditionally treated in that manner. The works must use traditional materials and finishes.
  • Repointing of brick or sandstone walls in a traditional manner and using traditional materials.
  • Replacement of damaged timber decking boards with timber boards of a traditional size (not treated pine).
  • Reinstatement of damaged verandah and deck friezes, fretwork and other non-structural elements with similar materials and designs, based on traditional details.
  • Reinstatement of balustrades to a balcony using traditional pattern and materials.
  • Reinstatement of a palisade fence, gate and masonry plinth using traditional proportions, details and materials.
  • Replacement of non-traditional windows and doors with windows and doors of traditional size and materials. This type of development will be subject to privacy considerations.
  • Repair of chimneys using traditional materials without altering the size or details.


  • Replacement or renovation of a non-original bathroom or kitchen, but not a food preparation area in a food and drink premises.
  • Replacement or renovation of a doorway, cupboard, wardrobe or shelving.

Whilst each type of development listed above may be minor on an individual basis, the scale, location and cumulative impact of that development will be taken into consideration by Council when it determines whether the development will have an adverse impact on the heritage significance of the heritage conservation area or heritage item.

Maintenance involves a lesser degree or work compared with works of a minor nature. Maintenance is defined in Woollahra LEP 2014 as:

Maintenance, in relation to a heritage item, Aboriginal object or Aboriginal place of heritage significance, or a building, work, archaeological site, tree or place within a heritage conservation area, 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.

What are the steps I should take?

Step 1 - Complete the application form

Applicants are required to complete and submit the form Heritage works without consent (PDF). A fee of $200 covers the assessment of the application and a written response.

Step 2 - Site inspection

A Council Officer may need to inspect the site. This will be arranged with the applicant if necessary.

Step 3 - Response to application

Council will provide a written response advising whether it is satisfied the proposed development is of a minor nature or is for the purpose of maintenance and will not have an adverse impact on the heritage significance of the heritage conservation area or heritage item.

Note: There will be a minimum response time of 14 days.


Council's Duty Planner
Phone: 9391 7000