Heritage FAQs

View frequently asked questions related to Heritage Overlays, Planning Scheme Amendments and more.

What is a Planning Scheme?

A Planning Scheme is a legal document that contains policies and provisions that control land use and development.

What is a Planning Scheme Amendment?

The Stonnington Planning Scheme is changed or updated through Planning Scheme Amendments.

The process for an amendment is set out in the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic).

The amendment process has a number of steps as outlined on the State Government website.

What is the Heritage Overlay?

Places that have been identified as having heritage significance are covered by a planning control called a Heritage Overlay. 

If a Heritage Overlay applies to your property, a planning permit is typically required to subdivide, demolish, alter or add to existing heritage places (including external alterations, fences, signs, and outbuildings) and construction of new buildings (including outbuildings and fences).

Unless specified, a planning permit is generally not required for internal alterations, external painting, maintenance, repairs or routine maintenance that do not change the appearance of the heritage place.

Please refer to Clause 43.01 Heritage Overlay in the Stonnington Planning Scheme that contains a full list of requirements for properties in a Heritage Overlay.

Why have these places been identified for inclusion in the Heritage Overlay?

Heritage studies in the past have varied in their approach and comprehensiveness. Today, there are clearer, more consistent and widely accepted heritage conservation principles and practices. Heritage values are not static and change over time in line with changing community expectations.

A comprehensive street-by-street assessment has identified places that meet or exceed the threshold of local significance, in accordance with the HERCON criteria.

What are the HERCON criteria?

There is an established framework by which all heritage places are assessed and identified as warranting heritage protection. The significance of a heritage place is not inherent in just its physical components. Heritage studies and citations (including the statement of significance) are prepared in accordance with ICOMOS Burra Charter (framework for Australian cultural heritage management) and the HERCON criteria (national criteria to identify and manage heritage).

The HERCON criteria is considered and assists in the identification of the best examples of heritage places. To identify the best examples of heritage places a street survey and a review of historical sources is undertaken. In addition, a comparative analysis of similar places within Stonnington is undertaken to assist in establishing the threshold of significance.

Places that best illustrate the relevant historical theme are identified. Those places that appear to meet or exceed the threshold of local significance, in accordance with the HERCON criteria, are recommended for further investigation. A place may meet just one or many of the HERCON criteria in order to be recommended for heritage protection.

Why are places within the Heritage Overlay reviewed?

Places that were included in the Heritage Overlay 20 years ago may not conform to present-day best practice, in terms of the information provided about what, why and how a place has heritage significance.

These older citations provide limited support to assist statutory planners, decision makers, or the community to understand the particular heritage value of a place or precinct.

These reviews can lead to changes to precinct boundaries, changes to the gradings of places within precincts, and changes to the controls applying to some places and precincts.

It will result in an updated citation and Statement of Significance for the place.

How will heritage controls impact my property?

The Heritage Overlay ensures that the potential impact of new development on the heritage value of a place is considered as part of development applications and ensures that the best planning outcomes are achieved. 

If your property is included in the Heritage Overlay you may need to apply to Council for a planning permit to undertake building and works. Under the Heritage Overlay, a planning permit is required from Council to (but not limited to):

  • Subdivide land.
  • Demolish or remove a building.
  • Construct a building or construct or carry out works including domestic services, a fence, domestic swimming pool or spa, pergola or verandah.
  • Construct or display a sign.
  • Externally paint an unpainted surface.
  • Internally alter a building (but only where internal alteration controls apply to the heritage place).
  • Carry out works, repairs and routine maintenance which change the appearance of the heritage place or which are not undertaken to the same, details, specifications and materials.

Clause 43.01 Heritage Overlay in the Stonnington Planning Scheme contains a full list of requirements for properties in a Heritage Overlay.

More Information can also be found in the Stonnington Heritage Design Guidelines.