Waterloo’s Heritage Conservation Area

You may know Waterloo as an inner-city location with lots of development in the works, and a friendly, diverse vibe.

However, the suburb is also home to an urban heritage conservation area that’s very popular with residents and home-buyers.

Where is Waterloo’s heritage conservation area?

Waterloo’s heritage conservation area – also known as the Urban Conservation Area – is made up of concentrations of residential 19th-century terraces and cottage houses. And although Waterloo is fast undergoing redevelopment and regeneration like its neighbouring suburbs of Alexandria, Redfern and Surry Hills, any new developments in the area are encouraged to be sympathetic to the existing heritage style.

Many of Sydney’s oldest buildings can be found in Waterloo, including the heritage-listed Town Hall at 770 Elizabeth Street. In fact, an air raid shelter was built in the Hall during WWII and is one of the few surviving examples left in Sydney.

What value does the heritage conservation area bring to Waterloo?

A precinct with heritage-listed buildings such as Waterloo brings lots of value to the local area. Home-buyers are actually seeking stylish old terraces or charming cottages to live or invest in. They are an increasingly rare commodity, and with that rarity comes desirability.

Why choose old over new? Well, because older properties are beautiful, have character – and usually an interesting history to boot. They may also offer the chance to improve on a grand old building while also retaining its unique heritage look and feel; a challenge for many keen renovators!

Plus, buying in a heritage conservation area such as Waterloo means you have certainty that the area is protected to some degree by councils, and that the streetscape will be preserved along with property values – a plus for many home-buyers.

What are the myths about buying a property with a heritage listing?

We’re glad you asked – because there are quite a few!

Firstly, many people still believe that heritage-listed properties (like the kinds of terraces found in Waterloo) may have legal restrictions on them when it comes to selling or leasing. This isn’t true – there are no legal restrictions on heritage properties.

Thinking of selling?

Just researching the market?

You’re also allowed to renovate or make changes to a heritage-listed property as long as what you do doesn’t detract from the heritage significance of the building. If you’re not sure, ask the local council or hire a heritage consultant to ensure you’re adding value and doing the right thing.

You may also be able, via flexibility clauses in local environmental plans, to request permission to adapt a heritage-listed property for another purpose – like converting a heritage-listed warehouse into a residential home, or adapting a heritage house into offices.

In regards to maintenance of a heritage-listed property or garden, you don’t have to do anything special, beyond normal maintenance required, and maintenance doesn’t require formal approval. If, however, you let the property deteriorate, you may be liable for prosecution.

The future is bright thanks to the past

Waterloo’s preservation of these old homes dates back to the Green Bans of the 1970s when builders labourers refused to work on projects that were either environmentally or socially undesirable. Green Bans occurred across the city, but Waterloo was one area where they tried to preserve low rise heritage housing and retain the character of the suburb.

Today, Waterloo is just one inner-city suburb working to continue to preserve its streetscapes and architecture with an urban heritage and conservation area. As the area continues to be redeveloped, we hope the beautiful old buildings continue to be protected so the community can enjoy them for many generations to come.

If you’d like to know more about the heritage properties in Waterloo or find out what’s for sale in the area, please do get in touch.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Article by Brendon Clark
‘The details matter - through every part of the process.’ With decades of runs on the board alongside a fresh outlook, Brendon is co-director of Clark - and one half of one of Sydney’s most dynamic and successful real estate duos. Having carved out a reputation for results in the… Read More
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