Heritage Conservation

Places and objects are listed when they have heritage significance. There are approximately 100 heritage items in Fairfield City listed within:

If you are buying a property, a Section 10.7 Planning Certificate issued by Council will identify if a property is heritage listed.

Heritage listing permits sympathetic development of heritage places through an approval process to ensure changes retain the significance of heritage places.

Council undertakes regular inspections of heritage items and documents the state of each item. Any unauthorised work will be investigated and an Order may be issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979  Part 6 - Division 2A Section 121B. The investigation may result in prosecution and/or the imposition of a fine.

Please note that no matter what type of heritage item is listed (for example, a building or a tree), the whole site is affected by the heritage listing.

Developments next to or near heritage items will also need to consider how they can also be designed with sensitivity to create an appropriate environment around the item.

More information: 

Buying a Heritage Item

What are the obligations of heritage listed property owners? 

Heritage buildings, just like any others, require regular maintenance. The development of, and adherence to, a well planned maintenance programme will greatly reduce repair costs and extend the life of any building.

Planning of maintenance for any building involves regular and detailed monitoring of the building fabric, and taking action.  Regular pest control inspections are important for the early identification of termites.

Leaking downpipes can result in cracking of some masonry walls and extensive damage to internal and external finishes.  Regular maintenance inspections will detect leaks before they cause too much damage, and coordinated repair should result in the leaks being repaired before deterioration of the internal and external finishes.

What alterations can be undertaken to a heritage item?

Whether contemplating the purchase of a heritage listed property or thinking about the management of an existing property, it is important to think about whether the property can be adapted to current needs without destroying its heritage value.

When planning for such changes it is important to have a clear understanding of what fabric is significant so that an appropriate balance may be struck between accommodating changes and retention of important fabric.

The term fabric refers to all the physical material of a place, including its surroundings and contents.  Where extensive alterations are contemplated, it is appropriate to obtain expert advice.

It is generally possible to introduce services such as air conditioning, lighting, information technology and the like in ways that do not compromise the building's importance.

It is important to discuss any proposed changes with Council staff. 

Who decides on heritage maintenance needs?

For any property, whether heritage listed or not, currently owned or recently purchased, it is important to understand its existing condition and faults.

The detailed collection of this information, a dilapidation survey, should be prepared to understand what work is needed to correct any identified faults.  

The dilapidation survey is a useful basis for the reinstatement of lost or damaged important features, ensuring that repair work is carried out correctly.

Modern building practices are sometimes inappropriate for the repair of older properties, so it is important to define correct methods.

How are approvals gained for works to heritage items?

To obtain approval for development, it is necessary to lodge an application with adequate documentation identifying the proposed work and how it is to be carried out.

The documentation is extremely useful and necessary in obtaining approvals.

Before commencing documentation it is recommended that property owners discuss proposed work with Council’s Heritage Advisor.

Contact Council's Customer Service team on 9725 0222 for more information. 

Is there any Council assistance to help in maintenance?  

Under Council's Heritage Grants Program, Council will financially assist owners of heritage properties listed within Council’s Local Environmental Plan for essential maintenance work up to $5,000 per project, on a dollar for dollar basis.

Every year Council writes to owners of heritage items inviting grant applications for financial assistance to undertake essential maintenance work.

Applications for maintenance include: roof repairs, guttering replacement, stormwater and subsurface drainage, painting, the replacement of an external window, the repair to or replacement of a non-structural wall or roof or wall cladding or other works determined as relevant by Council’s Heritage Advisor which ensure the future retention of the heritage item.

Heritage Impact Statements

A Heritage Impact Statement prepared by a qualified Heritage Consultant may be required for all development applications involving heritage items and development within the visual catchment of a heritage item, typically 50 metres in an urban environment and 300 metres in the rural area.

When in doubt, consult with Council’s Heritage Adviser.

Planning Controls

Planning controls apply to heritage items

Certain restrictions and additional development controls apply to alterations and additions to a heritage item.

A listed heritage item may not be demolished, except in very unusual circumstances, but can be altered or extended. If new development is proposed on a site containing a heritage-listed building, certain planning controls that would otherwise apply (for example, on the use of a building, the area of the new development, and parking requirements) may be relaxed, as long as the listed item is conserved.

Part 5.10 Heritage Conservation of the Fairfield Local Environmental Plan outlines development restrictions to heritage items and development in proximity of heritage items.

Appendix G – Heritage and Development of the Fairfield City Wide Development Control Plan 2013 contains guidelines to assist owners of heritage listed properties and those in the vicinity of such properties when thinking about maintenance, renovation and building works.

Helping with Maintenance

Helping you maintain your heritage item

If you are proposing work to a heritage item, talk to Council’s Heritage Adviser.

The services of the Heritage Adviser are free of charge. To book an appointment, contact the Strategic Land Use Planning Team on 9725 0222.

For minor repairs and maintenance works, applicants can submit a Heritage Minor and Maintenance form(PDF, 258KB) for consideration to Council’s Independent Heritage Adviser.

Ask about Council's Heritage Grant Program(PDF, 260KB), which helps with the cost of essential maintenance and repairs.

Conditions apply.

Consultants Directory

The NSW Heritage Office provides, without prejudice, a list of heritage consultants through its Heritage Consultants Directory.   

After taking the above link, a list of tradespeople who have undertaken work locally on heritage items is available on that page in a category list on the left of the page.

Undertake Minor & Maintenance Works Form

For minor repairs and maintenance works, applicants can submit a Heritage Minor and Maintenance form(PDF, 258KB) for consideration to Council’s Heritage Adviser.

Aboriginal Heritage

Aboriginal heritage is currently largely managed through a system of NSW government legislation and policy which provides legal protection for items of Aboriginal heritage significance.

An Aboriginal Heritage Study has been undertaken by Council to investigate the Aboriginal heritage and history of Fairfield City. The Study aims to identify, assess and record places of Aboriginal cultural significant and archaeological potential that must be appropriately managed and conserved. A copy of the Aboriginal Heritage Study can be downloaded here: Aboriginal Heritage Study 2017(PDF, 6MB)

Potential Aboriginal Heritage Investigation Areas have been identified within Council's Aboriginal Heritage Study from an assessment of archaeological sensitivity based on landform and known historical impact. Council's Land Information System has maps with identified ‘Potential Investigation Areas (PIA)’. If your property is located within a Potential Investigation Area, additional consideration and assessment will take place in accordance with the requirements outlines in the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and the Fairfield Citywide Development Control Plan 2013.

Low Impact Activities in Disturbed Lands

Aboriginal objects in the Fairfield Local Government Area are most likely to occur within the top 0.5m of an original soil profile (except in deeper alluvial deposits along major creeks and rivers). Few activities undertaken by Council or external applicants would be subject to a Due Diligence Aboriginal Heritage Assessment for ‘low impact activities’ in ‘disturbed lands’.

Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permits

Other impacts to Aboriginal objects require an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit (AHIP) under s90 of the National Parks & Wildlife Act (1974) which can be issued by the Director-General of Heritage NSW (by delegation). All Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit applications must be accompanied by an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment report that documents the archaeological assessment of the study area and proposed impacts, in accordance with Heritage NSW guidelines.
For more information contact Council’s Customer Service Team on 9725 0222.

Useful Sources and Contacts


Contact Council’s Customer Service Team on 9725 0222 for more information.