The Minister for Planning, the Hon Richard Wynne, has now approved the Hepburn Shire C80hepb Planning Scheme Amendment. The Amendment came into force on February 10 and will apply to all planning permit applications from that date. The amendment builds on the significant work done by Council and the community over the past three years and strengthens its current positions on appropriate development within the Shire.
Hepburn Shire Council commenced a review of the Hepburn Planning Scheme in 2020. During Community Consultation in August 2020, Council received 276 submissions on the draft amendment. As a result of community consultation, Council withdrew two controversial parts of the draft Amendment (Design and Development Overlay, DD06 around the Daylesford Transfer Station and the Significant Landscapes Overlay, SLO). Following this, Council referred submissions to an Independent Panel for consideration and to make recommendations. The adopted planning scheme incorporated all or part of 12 of the Independent Panel’s 19 recommendations. Council officers recommended against adopting seven of the Independent Panel recommendations.
The amendment is a comprehensive review of the Hepburn Planning Scheme that provides urban planning considerations to guide development and land use planning. It also includes a strategic planning framework to enhance outcomes for future development, land use planning and appropriate environmental protection.
“The planning amendment sets the foundation for future strategic planning work to further protect and enhance aspects of our Shire that the community values,” said Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie. “An incredible amount of work has gone into this amendment and it’s great to see the Minister has endorsed it.”
The Hepburn Planning Scheme had not been significantly updated in more than 20 years. The amendment will allow Council to make decisions based on current planning standards.
Cr Drylie said Council can now begin work on township structure plans for Creswick, Clunes, Daylesford / Hepburn Springs and Trentham. “Residents understandably feel ownership over the direction of their town, and as part of this work there has been and will be many more opportunities for the community to get involved and provide input,” said Cr Drylie. “Our Strategic Planning Team will lead the structure plans for townships and share more information about how to get involved in the coming months,” he said.
Throughout the development of the Planning Scheme and Council Plan 2021-2025, Council heard that reviewing the long-term planning framework needed to be key focus. As a result, Council has allocated significant funding in 2021/2022 and plans to fast track this work in 2022/2023.
Council’s Chief Executive Officer Bradley Thomas said the new Planning Scheme has been a major piece of work. “This has been one of the most significant projects undertaken ever by Council and it is extremely pleasing to have the scheme approved,” said Mr Thomas. “Thank you to everyone who participated in this project, especially to staff and consultants who have worked in a consultative manner to deliver a high quality, modern planning scheme,” he said.
The new scheme includes 19 new local policies providing direction on development expectations. The policies aim to strengthen the character of Hepburn Shire; protect towns from inappropriate development in Daylesford, Clunes, Hepburn Springs and Trentham; strengthen neighbourhood character; and improve protection of Hepburn’s heritage and dry stone walls.
The policies include clearer strategies and guidelines on expectations for Aboriginal cultural heritage, affordable housing, protection of mineral springs and fresh water springs, native vegetation and habitat, subdivisions, urban design, neighbourhood character and more.
Most existing zones and overlays continue unchanged, including Farming, Commercial, Industrial Zones, Significant Landscape and Environmental Significance Overlays.
A list of key changes, more information and the amended Planning Scheme is available at https://participate.hepburn.vic.gov.au/planning-scheme.