What is a Heritage Standard and what is it used for?

    A Heritage Standard is an assessment tool, linked to the State Heritage Area Overlay within the Planning and Design Code. The Heritage Standard provides principles and acceptable minimum standards for development proposals. The Heritage Standard forms a key part of how the architects within Heritage South Australia assess development proposals within a State Heritage Area.  

    The Heritage Standard for the Gawler Church Hill State Heritage Area includes:

    1. Background – the historical development of Gawler Church Hill and the principles that underpin the State Heritage Area.
    2. Statement of Significance – the South Australian Heritage Register listing and the context and description of the heritage values.
    3. Heritage Standards for Development – Principles and Acceptable Standards for development – for property owners considering repairs, alterations and additions and new development.

    What is a State Heritage Area?

    A State Heritage Area is a clearly defined region with outstanding natural or cultural elements significant to South Australia's development and identity.

    A State Heritage Area may include early or important settlements, towns or suburbs of heritage value, or natural landscapes. State Heritage Areas are notable for their distinct heritage character or 'sense of place', formed by:

    • buildings and structures
    • spaces and allotments
    • patterns of streets
    • natural features or the developed landscape.

    What is included in the State Heritage Area?

    This map illustrates the boundaries of the Gawler Church Hill State Heritage Area.

    The Department for Environment and Water has more details.

    When was Gawler Church Hill declared a State Heritage Area?

    Gawler Church Hill was declared a State Heritage Area on 6 June 1985.

    What kind of development is allowed in a State Heritage Area?

    The relevant (planning) authority must approve any development within a State Heritage Area in accordance with the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act)

    Development is defined by the PDI Act, and the Planning Development Infrastructure (general) Regulations 2017 and includes:

    • Building work
    • The demolition, removal, conversion, alteration or painting of, or addition to a State Heritage Place*
    • Any work that could materially affect the heritage value of the place. 

    *To note: Legally, any property within a State Heritage Area is also considered a State Heritage Place. 

    Can State Heritage Areas be developed?

    Although State Heritage Areas are protected under legislation, places within the area can be altered or developed as long as the work is sympathetic to the character of the area.

    Applications for development approval in a State Heritage Area are required to be referred, by the relevant authority (for example the local council), to the Minister responsible for the Heritage Places Act 1993. The Minister delegates assessment and decisions to Heritage South Australia in the Department for Environment and Water.

    Will the Heritage Standard stop all development in the Gawler Church Hill State Heritage Area?

    The inclusion of a State Heritage Place or Area in the South Australian Heritage Register does not prevent change to the Place or Area. In fact, an objective of the Heritage Places Act 1993 is:

    to encourage sustainable use and adaptation of heritage places in a manner consistent with high standards of conversation practice, the retention of their heritage significance, and relevant development policies. 

    Compatible development of State Heritage Areas and State Heritage Places can be the best way to ensure the Place or Area is used, maintained, and enjoyed in the future.

    Where changes to a State Heritage Place or Area involve actions that constitute ‘development’ as defined by the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016, an application for development approval is lodged with the relevant planning authority, the local council or the State Planning Commission and then is referred to Heritage South Australia for direction.

    Do Heritage Standards freeze State Heritage Areas in time?

    The Heritage Standard will not freeze the Gawler Church Hill State Heritage Area in time. Rather, it will ensure any referred development reflects the heritage values of the State Heritage Area.

    Can the Heritage Standards be changed in the future?

    For any small administrative changes, the Heritage Standard can be updated following normal internal policy guidelines but any major changes will require another round of public consultation. Likewise, any changes to the Statement of Significance require approval from the South Australian Heritage Council.

    How will the Heritage Standard be used?

    The standard will be used by Heritage South Australia, as delegates of the Minister for Climate, Environment and Water, in assessing development applications that may impact on state heritage values.

    It will also be used to provide advice to property owners planning to restore, alter or develop their property within the State Heritage Area.