Nature conservation

Parks, reserves and protected areas

Barrenjoey Head - draft concept plans for adaptive re-use of cottages

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has engaged Neeson Murcutt Architects to prepare draft concept plans for re-use of the headland's historic buildings including the lightkeepers' cottages, Boatman's Cottage and two fishermens' cottages.

The Draft Barrenjoey Head concept plans (PDF 7MB) were available for review until 30 April 2016.

NPWS will consider all feedback recived during preparation of the final plans.

The questions and answers below have been prepared to assist you in understanding the intent and components of the draft concept plans and provide answers to key questions.

Questions and answers

What is a concept plan?

The concept plans provide options for how the buildings can be used to provide short stay visitor accommodation, public toilets, and improvement of public access consistent with the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Plan of Management.

Why are new uses being considered for the Barrenjoey Head cottages?

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is required to manage Barrenjoey Head in accordance with the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. The objectives of the Act include the conservation of nature and objects, places or features of cultural value within the landscape and the fostering of public appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of nature and cultural heritage and their conservation.

Adaptive re-use for visitor accommodation is identified in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Plan of Management and Barrenjoey Headland Conservation Management Plan as an appropriate use. All revenue from the use of buildings within national parks is invested back into park management to support conservation and long-term sustainable visitor facilities.

Short-stay holiday accommodation is considered by NPWS as optimal use of the buildings as it is compatible with the original function, enables the public to use and enjoy the buildings and provides revenue to maintain the buildings.

Permanent residential occupation is not being explored as the National Parks and Wildlife Act excludes permanent private accommodation as a permissible use in this location.

How will the heritage values of the site be protected?

Barrenjoey Head is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register. The Barrenjoey Headland Conservation Management Plan was endorsed by the NSW Heritage Council. Over the past two years, NPWS has undertaken over $1 million of conservation works to the light tower and the lightkeepers' cottages. NPWS is also preparing an interpretation strategy for the site and improving the Smugglers track.

Any major site works will be subject to rigorous internal environmental planning procedures in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. Also, when a place is listed on the State Heritage Register, the formal approval of the Heritage Council of NSW is required for any major work.

Do the concept plans propose to change the appearance of the cottages?

The appearance of the lightkeepers' cottages and Boatman's Cottage will not be altered. Due to termite/weather damage and hazardous building material, the fishermens' cottages will be largely re-built but maintain the vernacular roof form and scale of early 20th century fishermens' cottages. As the site is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register all works will be subject to approval by the Heritage Council.

What about the volunteer program?

The existing volunteer program will continue and allow sufficient scope for the program to adapt to future visitor needs and program developments.

Will there be functions, food, beverage or restaurants permitted?

NPWS is not proposing a restaurant or function centre in any of the buildings.

We have not excluded the provision of spaces within some of the buildings for community use and small scale gatherings.

Are any new buildings proposed?

No, apart from possible provision of public toilets.

How will the concepts being proposed affect visitor numbers?

There will be a small number of additional visitors, limited by the final configuration and capacity of the cottages. Capacity will be limited due to the heritage significance of the cottages.

How will the concepts proposed affect public access?

The proposal will make the cottages available for public access and enjoyment for the first time. The current level of pedestrian access within the site will not be affected. Tours of the light tower will continue.

Will the public be able to drive to the cottages?

No, NPWS will manage the site to best protect heritage and aesthetic values of the site. Public vehicles will not be permitted beyond the car-park. Only management vehicles and emergency access will be permitted to drive on-site.

Why are you installing sewer mains?

Wastewater from the Boatman's Cottage and Head Lightkeeper's Cottage is currently treated via a septic system with absorption trench, a system which does not meet modern Australian Standards. The most environmentally sustainable method to manage effluent is off-site treatment via the metropolitan sewer mains.

An environmental impact assessment has been submitted to Pittwater Council for connection of the headland to the metropolitan sewer and water mains.

Will there be public toilets?

Yes.The concept plans propose that public toilets be provided in the basement area of the Head Lightkeeper's Cottage with access through a new opening in the external wall of the cottage.

When will the proposal be finalised and approved?

Following the exhibition of the Barrenjoey Head concept plans, the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) will consider community and stakeholder feedback, finalise the concept plans and prepare a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) and Statement of Heritage Impact to determine the environmental impact of the final proposal. A formal application for approval will then be submitted to the Heritage Council for consideration. This is expected to occur by mid-2016.

Page last updated: 06 May 2016