Why has a heritage review been undertaken in these areas?

We are undertaking this review to improve the way we make heritage planning decisions. The Municipal Heritage Inventory (MHI) is an ongoing heritage survey of places of cultural heritage significance and continually needs updating.

As a local government we're requird to update our MHI annually and review it every 5 years under the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990. 

In 2016 we completed a review of North Fremantle. In 2017 we are reviewing Fremantle, Beaconsfield and White Gum Valley. 


What is the municipal heritage inventory (MHI)?

The municipal heritage inventory (MHI) is a database of heritage places in the City of Fremantle, which have been assessed for their aesthetic, historic, social or scientific value. It contains an invaluable collection of heritage information for more than 5000 places across the municipality, and is available on the Heritage Council of Western Australia’s website: inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au

The MHI is for information purposes only. It does not have any legal implications for the development of land.


What is the heritage list?

Under the City’s Local Planning Scheme 4, we are able to recognise individual properties of cultural heritage significance to Fremantle and worthy of conservation. The Heritage List is a list of places which are of cultural heritage significance attached our local planning scheme. The list only has the property address. It doesn’t include any other information. Currently we have 2500 heritage listed properties. 


Why are places heritage listed?

Listing is the way our heritage places are identified and managed through the planning process. This helps look after the environmental, economic and social benefits of our heritage buildings for current and future generations. Listing assists with conservation of a place. It’s not intended to stop all change.


What are the benefits of heritage listings?

There is research demonstrating that caring for places of cultural heritage significance can generate environmental, economic and social benefits. This means that heritage can contribute to wider agendas such as health outcomes, education, the environment and urban planning. Some benefits include:

  • Heritage forms part of community identity and culture and creates a sense of place
  • Heritage educates people about the history and importance of places
  • Heritage may contribute towards social stability and cohesion in the community
  • Economic benefits of heritage relate to the individual place and tourism of the area
  • Retention of heritage buildings reduces energy usage associated with demolition, waste disposal and new construction
  • Retention of heritage buildings also promotes sustainable development by conserving existing embodied energy


Can work and development still happen on a place that is on the heritage list?

Inclusion of a place on the City's heritage list does not prohibit it from further development. Managing and conserving places is about ensuring they retain their cultural heritage significance and development and work is compatible with the heritage values of the place.

As with most development in the City of Fremantle, development and works on places listed on the City’s Heritage List (including demolition, and some renovations, additions and certain forms of repair) require planning approval.   

When assessing development on heritage properties the City use the standard planning requirements and assesses the development’s impact on the heritage significance of the place. Ultimately, we want to ensure that development retains a building’s heritage significance and is compatible with the heritage values of the place. 

A discussion on heritage and development can be found here.


What is a heritage area?

Heritage areas are a collection of places with shared cultural heritage significance, such as the West End or Hilton Garden Suburb. Heritage areas are recognised in our local planning scheme and policies can be adopted for a heritage area to conserve and enhance the streetscape, key heritage features/elements and/or notable character etc. Currently we have 23 heritage areas in the City of Fremantle.

Examples of other heritage areas in the City of Fremantle can be found on the City’s Local Planning Scheme No.4 Map (see heritage module and click on the heritage area layer).

Declaring a heritage area provides some protection to the character and streetscape of that area – focused on its heritage values and significance. For example development proposals for places in heritage areas are assessed on the standard planning requirements and their impact on the heritage significance, streetscape and character of the area. Development that respects and is sympathetic to the heritage value of the area is supported by the City.


I don’t feel my house has any heritage significance, why is it being considered as part of this heritage area?

Places in heritage areas are considered to have collective heritage significance, not individual heritage significance. A heritage area may contain places of minor individual significance or places with little or no significance as the boundaries are by area, not individual lot.

Examples of other heritage areas in the City of Fremantle can be found on the City’s Local Planning Scheme No.4 Map (see heritage module and click on the heritage area layer).


What are the benefits of heritage areas?

Heritage areas: 

  • protect elements important to cultural significance and integrity of an area that would not warrant heritage listing on an individual level
  • enable conservation of an area’s evolution and history
  • encourage new development and continued use of an area while simultaneously conserving the cultural heritage significance
  • increase amenity, conserve a ‘sense of place’ and character and maintain the continuity of cultural inheritance
  • increase the desirability of a place as residents know the cultural integrity of their environment is protected

Can work and development still happen on a place that is in a heritage area?

Inclusion of a place in a heritage area, does not prohibit it from further development. Managing and conserving heritage areas is about ensuring development and work retains the character and streetscape values of the area.

In terms of additional development requirements in the proposed Fremantle heritage area what this would essentially mean is that planning approval would be required for certain works that wouldn’t need approval outside heritage areas (notably demolition). This does not imply that approval wouldn’t be granted, especially where the works are to relatively recent houses.

Properties in heritage areas still enjoy a broad range of exemptions from requiring planning approval under the planning regulations and City’s planning scheme. These include, for example, all internal works, single storey rear additions, patios/outbuildings, replacing or altering roofing material, changing minor or major openings (external doors and windows), external fixtures, swimming pools.


What assistance is available for owners of heritage places?

The City offers free technical advice from accredited architects for property owners of places on the MHI and Heritage List who require conservation and development advice.

The City has also developed a series of technical advice sheets that have been tailored to our local conditions and rich building history. The advice sheets are to assist building owners in Fremantle in caring for their heritage properties and include:

1.  Introduction to good conservation practice

2.  Checklist for inspections

3.  Looking after limestone walls

4.  Limestone walls need lime mortars

5.  Dealing with dampness in old walls

6.  Repointing lime mortar joints


For the Heritage Council of WA grants and other assistance please see:

·  State heritage grants program

·  Other grants and incentives


Is house insurance affected by a listing?

There is no legal requirement to rebuild a place destroyed in accidental circumstances and thus heritage status on its own should have no effect on insurance premiums. However you may wish to speak to your insurance company.

The Western Australian Heritage Council have a webpage dedicated to this information – Insuring your heritage listed property


How are changes made to the City’s heritage list?

To make changes to the City’s heritage list, first a review of places is undertaken. The City of Fremantle Council then consider this review and adopts it for public comment.

Owners and occupiers of places where changes to the heritage list are proposed, are given an opportunity to consider and provide comment on these changes.

The City of Fremantle Council then considers both the submissions and heritage information when making their final decision on places to include on the City’s heritage list.


Can an owner comment on a proposed heritage listing/heritage area?

Yes. As part of the process you are invited to make a submission on a proposed heritage listing or heritage area.  Any submissions received will be included in the report as part of the Council agenda. You will also receive an invitation to the Council meeting. Should you wish to speak you will be able to address the City of Fremantle Council at a planning committee and Council meeting, prior to Council’s determination.