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If you are developing a property that has a heritage overlay you must get a planning permit for all external changes. You can read more about what this involves on our When you need a planning permit page.

Obtaining more information about a heritage-listed property

If your property is located within a heritage overlay and you would like more information about the significance of the property, see the Victorian Heritage Database on the Victorian Heritage Council website.

The Victorian Heritage Database, managed by Heritage Victoria, is an online database containing information about Victorian Heritage Places and Precincts including statements of significance, physical descriptions, historical information, builder, architectural style, photographs, and heritage overlay number. 

How heritage places are selected

What is a heritage place?

In August 1979, the Burra Charter was adopted by the Australian National Committee of International Committee of Monuments and Sites. This charter provides guidance for the identification, conservation and management of places with cultural heritage significance.

A heritage place can be:

  • a site
  • an area
  • land
  • a landscape
  • building(s) or other work
  • memorials
  • trees
  • gardens
  • parks
  • places of historical events
  • urban areas
  • towns
  • industrial places
  • archaeological sites
  • spiritual and religious places.

Cultural heritage significance means a place with aesthetic, historic, scientific, social or spiritual value for past, present or future generations.

Council has a strong commitment to protect and enhance the rich historical fabric of the City which forms an important part of the identity of Merri-bek.

Identifying heritage places in Merri-bek

All municipalities contain heritage places. Local councils have a role to play in identifying and protecting places of heritage significance.

Most local heritage places are identified through a municipal heritage study, carried out by an experienced heritage consultant. 

During the initial stages of the study, the community and local historical societies are encouraged to nominate sites and places of potential heritage significance. A nominated place then undergoes a heritage assessment to determine if it is of local or State significance and therefore warrants statutory heritage protection. 

Heritage assessments are carried out by qualified and experienced professionals in accordance with the principles of the Burra Charter. Assessment reports (citations) include a statement of significance that identifies the what, how and why of heritage protection.

Sometimes new heritage sites are identified in Merri-bek. After public consultation, the Merri-bek Planning Scheme may be amended to include and protect new heritage sites. You can learn more about this on our Merri-bek Planning Scheme page.

You can contact us to suggest a new heritage place using the details on our Contact us page. If you call us on 9240 1111 to speak to us about this, make sure to ask for the Strategic Planning Unit.

Protection of heritage places

Local heritage places are protected in the Merri-bek Planning Scheme through heritage overlays, which require a planning permit to alter a heritage place.

A heritage overlay conserves and enhances heritage. An overlay shows how your land can be used and developed. All heritage overlays are recorded in the Merri-bek Planning Scheme. Importantly, the heritage overlay does not preclude development; it simply makes sure that any new works do not adversely affect the heritage significance of the place. Heritage sites are protected in one of two ways:

Heritage overlays applied to an individual site, building, or object

Individual heritage overlays can have controls that require you to get a planning permit to make changes.

A place with its own heritage overlay is an important heritage site. Examples in Merri-bek are the Pentridge Prison Complex, Wiseman House, Glenroy, Hoffman’s Brick and Pottery Works, Brunswick.

Heritage overlay applied to a broader precinct area

Most heritage sites do not have their own individual heritage overlay. Instead they are identified and protected within a heritage overlay control that applies over a wider precinct area that may include all the houses in a street or group of streets.

A heritage precinct overlay can also include places with no heritage value. These places have a heritage overlay so that new development does not have a negative impact on the heritage significance of the whole area.

Examples of some heritage precincts in Merri-bek are Barkly Street, Brunswick East, Newlands Estate Precinct, Coburg, and Turner Street Precinct, Pascoe Vale.

Where can I find out more about heritage sites in Merri-bek?

You can find a list of all individually listed heritage sites and all properties in a heritage precinct overlay in the Merri-bek Planning Scheme on the Victorian Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

Moreland heritage studies

Council's heritage studies record the heritage significance of the heritage precincts as well as individual places. 

 You can also ask to see Council's heritage studies at the Moreland Civic Centre. You can find out more about the Customer Service Centre at Merri-bek Civic Centre on our Contact us page.