City of Melbourne's new view on Heritage

In response to community feedback regarding City of Melbourne's heritage strategy, a number of steps have been taken to ensure Council are at the forefront of heritage strategy and conservation. Last week City of Melbourne endorsed The Local Heritage Planning Policies Review Paper, which is now open to public feedback.

After identifying a number of areas where heritage conservation tools could be improved, the Paper seeks to enhance the way heritage planning decisions are made, provide transparency to the process and provide consistency with State Government requirements.

City of Melbourne is experiencing rapid growth and we need to ensure we have the best tools available to preserve the city’s heritage. With 7000 buildings covered by a Heritage Overlay in the City of Melbourne, the Melbourne Planning Scheme contains a legacy of Council’s long term commitment to heritage conservation.

This review highlights the need to ensure there is clarity and consistency in the decision making process.

Councillor Ken Ong, Chair of Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee

The review proposes replacing the existing grading system applied to heritage properties with the new best practice approach, while also developing ‘statements of significance’ for those heritage precincts outside the Capital City Zone that currently don’t have them. The paper itself is the result of recommendations from recent heritage planning panel hearings and consultation with users of the policy and peak heritage organisations according to its dedicated web page.

The next step

The Future Melbourne Committee will be presented with a report during October advising on the results of the initial consultation and an implementation plan. Further consultation will occur during the implementation period, in particular developing statements of significance for the precincts outside the Capital City zone which currently aren't covered.

The Celtic Club. Image © The Collector


One of the major benefits I see of City of Melbourne's heritage strategy adjustment is the alignment of City and State on the issue, but having said that I'm no aficionado when it comes to heritage. From the outside looking in, do I think these changes will have a profound impact on what structures are retained/protected from development, such as the Celtic Club pictured above? Probably not.

There's plenty of readers out there with their finger on the heritage pulse, feel free to share your thoughts on the ramifications for City of Melbourne's Local Heritage Planning Policies Review Paper, which can be seen in detail at City of Melbourne's website.

Lead image courtesy AV Dynamics.

1 comment

Rohan Storey's picture

As to the alignment of city and state, that would be a good thing, but new guidelines arent going to create that climate. Thats already all over the shop.

This review is about guidelines for whats already listed, so it wont 'list' more buildings, but if gradings are dropped, then the general assumption that D graded in precincts can be demolished may no longer apply (hopefully!). That would mainly affect residential areas.

We dont yet know of course what the end result will be, but there is a general feeling that facadism, that is retaining literally only the front wall, should not be supported - in fact the current planning scheme guidelines for the CBD say as much, but they are routinely ignored, at least by the Minister's permits (eg. Celtic Club). So you may be right and ultimately little will change, at least in the land of Ministers permits.


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