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Wollongong City Council


You usually don’t need approval to add or replace fences on your property, as long as the fence meets the Exempt Development code and:

  • Is no more than 1.2m high in the front setback area of your property. That includes the street front, and side fences between the footpath and the front of your building.
  • Is no more than 1.8m high for fences between the front of your building and the rear boundary.
  • Is not on a flood control lot
  • Won’t restrict water run-off from your neighbours
  • Is not on a property that has constraints or restrictions placed on it, including heritage orders. If you’re not sure whether this applies to you, ask us.

Detailed rules about how fences can be built are in our Development Control Plan. If you want to build a fence that doesn’t meet these rules, ask us for development advice.

The Dividing Fences Act explains the rules for fences between two or more properties.

Generally the cost of fencing is shared equally between the land owners involved.

Sometimes one neighbour may need to pay more, or all, of the cost of a fence, for example:

  • If the fence is to be used to fence a swimming pool. In that case, the swimming pool owner must cover the fence cost.
  • If one neighbour wants to add fencing that is more than what’s required under standard rules.
  • For properties next to public land, the private land owner has to pay all fencing costs.

Council does not deal with disputes between neighbours.

The law that applies to fence disputes between neighbours is the Dividing Fences Act.

If you need help with a fence dispute, contact the Community Justice Centre:

Rules for retaining walls that require approval can be found in Section 4.17 of our Development Control Plan (Chapter B1) PDF, 495.85 KB

You can check the NSW Planning Portal for details of what retaining wall work can be done as exempt development (without approval) or as complying development

If you need help understanding what’s required, contact us for development advice.

Retaining wall disputes

Like with fences, Council usually won't get involved in disputes between neighbours about retaining walls unless there is a public safety risk.

If you think a retaining wall is being built incorrectly or without approval, you can report it to us as a Building and Development issue.