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Frequently Asked Questions about Heritage Overlays

What is a Heritage Overlay?

Heritage Overlays are a planning control that can be applied to properties, precincts, parks, trees, and other forms that are determined to have substantial heritage significance. The purpose of Heritage Overlays is to protect and conserve places of scientific, aesthetic, architectural or historical interest, or otherwise of special cultural value.

To ensure heritage properties are protected, a planning permit may be required from Council to demolish, construct, alter or extend buildings or structures in the Heritage Overlay.

How is heritage significance assessed?

Before Council can introduce a Heritage Overlay to a property or precinct, a heritage assessment or study needs to be prepared.

Heritage studies and assessments are prepared by a qualified heritage expert engaged by Council and identifies places that have heritage value. The heritage process leading to the identification of the place needs to clearly justify the significance of the place as a basis for its inclusion in the Heritage Overlay. The documentation for each place shall include a statement of significance that clearly establishes the importance of the place and addresses the heritage criteria.

Find out more on the Heritage Overlay process 

Read the Planning Practice Note 1 - Applying the Heritage Overlay 

Is my property in a Heritage Overlay?

You can see if your property is within a Heritage Overlay by searching the Schedule to the Heritage Overlay in the Bayside Planning Scheme. You can also find specific details pertaining to form, landscaping, and paint controls, amongst others.

What happens if my property is in a Heritage Overlay?

If your property is covered by a Heritage Overlay, and you are planning to undertake improvements or works, there might be additional requirements to consider before proceeding. Contact and speak to us first to get the correct information about whether, and which permits you may require before undertaking any works and will help avoid any unnecessary delays.

Can I demolish my property if it is in a Heritage Overlay?

If your building contributes to the broader heritage of an area, we will evaluate the neighbourhood significance, and advise if a permit can be issued through the planning permit application process.  An appeal process is available if you do not agree with our decision.

Can I build a new front fence in a Heritage Overlay?

A permit will be required, and the fence should be sympathetic to the valued heritage elements of the building.

Can I paint my property in a Heritage Overlay?

In designated heritage precincts, a permit would not be required to paint previously painted surfaces. However, there is a small number of properties that have external paint controls, requiring a permit for external painting. This is determinant upon the characteristics of the particular property.

If a Heritage Overlay is applied to my property, do I have to maintain my property to a standard determined by Council?

All homeowners have a responsibility to maintain their homes to a habitable state. Local heritage controls only impose a minimal responsibility to owners regarding maintenance.

Do I need to engage a heritage specialist to undertake renovations to my house if it is in a Heritage Overlay?

No you do not. However, like with any renovation, homeowners should consider choosing a practitioner who is best credentialed to assist with the proposed building work.

Read the following guide At Home with Heritage: A Considered Approach to Renovating Your House to find out more about renovating a heritage place. 

Can I make changes or alterations to the inside of a building in a Heritage Overlay?

A permit is not required for internal alterations unless it is one of the few properties that have specific internal controls, as indicated in the Bayside Planning Scheme. These properties will require a permit for internal works.

Do I need a permit for alterations and additions to my house in a Heritage Overlay?

Yes, a permit will be required. Alterations and alterations should be sympathetic to the valued heritage elements of the building. However, they do not need to replicate the original building. Extensions can be a contemporary addition, which is sometimes preferred.

Contact and speak with us first to get as much informed information as possible.

Does a Heritage Overlay impact property value?

Property prices go up and down for a number of reasons: market conditions, seasonal fluctuations, location, size, amenity, the state of neighbouring properties, building use, rental return, economic conditions, quality of buildings, etc. It is therefore difficult to isolate the specific effects of heritage listing.

The era, condition and style of heritage features, along with the cost of maintenance, as well as other significant qualities offered by the property, and the target market’s personal taste are all key factors influencing price. If heritage features are in excellent condition/restoration, easily maintained and do not reduce functionality or involve long-term costs, they are likely to increase the property’s value.

How can I find out more information about Heritage Overlays?

More information about Heritage Overlays can found on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) website. Council also has a list of Heritage Studies previously undertaken available. Alternatively, you can also contact us for more information.

Additional Heritage Resources 

Heritage Council Victoria has developed the following heritage information pack if you want to find out more about heritage, its protection and how you can be involved? 

What is Heritage? - Introduction

What is Heritage?

The Heritage Protection System - Graphic

The Heritage Protection System

Why do we Protect Heritage?

The Benefits of Heritage Protection

What to do to Help Protect Our Heritage

What is Your Role in Heritage Protection?

The following guide 'At home with heritage: a considered approach to renovating your house', has been developed to assist homeowners who are renovating or creating a home in a heritage building. They provide inspiration and demonstrate how good design and cultural heritage awareness can support the heritage values of a place while also providing a contemporary liveable home.

At Home with Heritage: A Considered Approach to Renovating Your House

Contact a Council Planner

For more information regarding Heritage Overlays, we encourage you to contact us by phone on (03) 9599 4666.