Scale and character
- Additions should be designed to respect the form and style of the existing building. They should not visually dominate the existing building.
- Materials should generally match, but new materials should appear as later work, not part of the original building. For example, window material should be the same as the existing building but mortar replaced by new mortar of similar strength and colour.
- Details can differ from the existing building but generally complement those used in the architectural period. For example, Federation details should not be used on a Californian bungalow style.
Roof and chimneys
- Roofs should match existing form and massing, not dominate and not involve more elaborate detail.
- Cladding materials should match the existing ones.
- Chimneys should be retained as traditional elements.
- Verandas are appropriate for the majority of building styles in Newcastle.
- Verandas and porches should be retained and not infilled.
- It is desirable to remove infill work.
Unless the property is listed as a heritage item, general colour choice can be the property owner's, under these guidelines:
- Traditional colours can be matched to the house style and can enhance the appearance.
- Colour schemes can be based on original or later schemes determined by paint scrapes or other investigative processes.
- New schemes can be used but generally should use three to four colours with architectural details picked out in contrasting colours.
- Painting over face brickwork or natural stone or new cement rendering not present originally IS NOT permitted.
- As a general rule, changing the colour of original roof tiles will not be supported. Roof materials must not be changed without the prior approval of City of Newcastle (CN).
Traditionally, colour palettes were designed for a particular period and architectural style specific to a building. Heritage houses will often look their best in colours matching the age and architectural style of the building.
We have prepared a useful Traditional Finishes and Colour Schemes guide which includes the traditional range of colours with the corresponding Australian Standard numbers for you to refer to or colour match where appropriate.
Masonry wall surfaces such as face brick can be maintained by a gentle clean or by re-pointing the joints where significant deterioration is evident. Taking care of masonry surfaces is the best way of maintaining the beauty of historic buildings.
You will need to notify CN of your proposed colour if you own a property which is listed as a heritage item and intend on changing either its internal or external colours. Do this via a Heritage Minor Works or Maintenance Notification application.
If you do not intend to change the colours of your heritage listed property (you are simply re-painting in the same colour scheme), you are not required to notify CN.
If your property is within a heritage conservation area and not listed as a heritage item, you are not required to notify CN of your proposed colour.
Windows and doors
- New windows and door openings should generally match the existing in proportion and material.
- A garage must be sited to rear, side or under the existing house and preferably detached in the rear yard. It must not be at the front of the property.
- For double garages, doors should be separate.
- Additional car spaces should be designed to be secondary and as a lean-to addition to reduce bulk.
- Carports should be simple open structures without decoration.
- Original gravel drives should be retained.
- Wheel strips with grass or gravel infill are preferred.
- Driveways should be single car width so they do not dominate gardens.
- Where existing circular drives exist, they should be retained.
Front fences and gates
- Front fences and gates should be appropriate to the architectural period or style.
- They should not form visual barriers to the streetscape and the height must be appropriate.
- They must be consistent with other CN fence policies.
The front fences of houses are a vital part of the character and appearance of heritage conservation areas. Historically, front fences were of a height and style that permitted a view into and out of the property, while side and back fences were higher and more solid to ensure privacy.
Sufficient evidence can often be pieced together from surviving relics and old photographs. There is no substitute for research: the best fence for an old building is a replica of the one it originally had. Original and significant fences should be retained and repaired where possible. Fences should not reproduce historical detail from other periods ("mock heritage"). Simple cottage fences of timber pickets or woven wire should not be replaced with "fancy" styles.
Fences should be in character with the style in which the house was built. Low timber picket fences and simple low brick pier type fences with pipe and mesh inserts predominate. Side and rear fences were generally 1500 high timber palings or corrugated galvanised sheets.
Wagga City Council has produced a guide for period fencing which is published as ‘Which Fence for My House? House and Fence Styles for Wagga Wagga 1860-1960’. This is a terrific resource for use in Newcastle as well.
You will need to notify CN of your proposed front fence if you live in a heritage property and you intend on changing the existing style or building material. Do this via a Heritage Minor Works or Maintenance Notification application.
If you do not intend to change the existing style or building material (you are simply replacing like for like), you are not required to notify CN.
Pools and tennis courts
- Pool and tennis courts are new elements. They are generally acceptable if they can be built in an appropriate location, do not require removal of significant trees or garden elements and do not have an adverse impact on the setting.
- They must conform with other CN policies.
- Are a strong and distinctive part of the heritage of Newcastle.
- New gardens should be appropriate for the style and period of the house.
- Existing mature trees are protected and should be retained.
Dormers and skylights
- Flat skylights are usually acceptable on roofs but should be unobtrusive, not on the main elevation and an appropriate size.
- Dormers are common to certain architectural styles and not appropriate on some styles.
- Dormers must be carefully located and of an appropriate size.