What is being proposed for Thornbury Park Estate?

    Council is proposing to apply the Heritage Overlay to Thornbury Park Estate by amending the planning scheme (Amendment C191dare).  Thornbury Park Estate is an area in Thornbury generally located to the south of Miller Street and to the west of St Georges Road.  At the same time, Council has also asked the Minister for Planning to apply an interim Heritage Overlay (Amendment C197dare) in response to increasing development pressure in this area. The purpose of the interim Heritage Overlay is to protect heritage buildings from being eroded (from demolition or development) while the planning scheme amendment process for a permanent Heritage Overlay is underway.

    What is a Heritage Overlay?

    A Heritage Overlay is a type of planning control that is applied to protect heritage places and ensure that development does not adversely affect their significance. A Heritage Overlay is accompanied by a Statement of Significance that gives a description of the place and lists the elements that are important to its heritage.

    What are the heritage findings?

    The heritage study finds that the Thornbury Park Estate is of historical, representative and aesthetic significance to the City of Darebin and a Heritage Overlay should be applied. The study provides a statement of significance and nominates each property within the precincts as having either significant, contributory or non-contributory heritage status. 

    Findings of the report include: 

    • The precinct is notable as a representative area of early twentieth-century housing in this part of the municipality.  
    • The heritage precinct compares well to others within the municipality in terms of its visual cohesion, integrity and evidence of historical subdivision boundaries.  
    • Thornbury Park Estate Precinct is of historical significance as a large subdivision that illustrates the emergence and rapid consolidation of Thornbury as a residential suburb during the early to mid-20th century. 
    • The Thornbury Estate Precinct is of representative significance for retaining good and generally intact examples of modest late Federation, Interwar and Post World War 2 period house designs and meets the criteria for an area-based Heritage Overlay. 

    How would the Heritage Overlay affect my property?

    In general, a heritage overlay means you will need to apply for a planning permit from Council if you want to make external changes to your home (some minor buildings and works are exempt). Any new development will need to be responsive to the heritage value of the area.

    There are different requirements depending on the heritage grading of your property. You can find your property’s heritage grading on Council’s web site, listed below (or in the attached map). 

    If your heritage grading is contributory or significant, then generally:

    • Full building demolition is discouraged and, in most cases, the front façade of your home will need to be retained. There may be exceptions to this, for example if the building is structurally unsound. 
    • You may still be able to partially demolish your building and make substantial changes to the rear if designed in a sympathetic way, for example an additional storey setback from the front so views are minimised.
    • An additional dwelling to the rear of the current house would generally only be permitted if the new dwelling fits comfortably in the block while retaining the current façade, meets planning requirements, and views are minimised. 

    If your heritage grading is non-contributory, then generally:

    • You will still require a permit to consider the impacts of any new development or building on the heritage streetscape. 
    • You may be able to fully demolish your property following a planning permit process.

    You can talk to Council officers to find out more about the impact of the proposed controls on your property.

    What type of buildings or works would trigger a planning permit?

    Routine maintenance and minor works may not require a planning permit. Details about what is exempt are outlined in the amended planning permit exemptions incorporated plan.

    Please see the table below to outline whether a planning permit is required for buildings and works within the Heritage Overlay:

     


    Significant 

    Contributory 

    Non- contributory 

    Demolition of a building

    Planning permit triggered

    Planning permit triggered

    No permit required

    Altering and additions to a building (External only)

     

     Planning permit triggered

    No permit required

    No permit required**


    Alterations and additions to a building (Internal only)  

     Planning permit triggered

    No permit required

    No permit required

    Repairs or Routine Maintenance that does not change the appearance of a building

    No permit required

    No permit required

     No permit required

    Repairs or Routine Maintenance that does change the appearance of a building

     Planning permit triggered

     Planning permit triggered

    No permit required

    Construction of a front fence (no more than 1.2m in height and 

    provided that this does not require the demolition of an existing front fence of a property shown as Significant or Contributory on the relevant precinct map or identified as a Significant feature within the precinct) 

    No permit required

    No permit required

    No permit required

    Installation of domestic services normal to dwelling at the rear of the property

    No permit required

    No permit required

    No permit required

    External painting (not on unpainted surface)

    No permit required

    No permit required

    No permit required

    Subdivision

     Planning permit triggered

     Planning permit triggered

     Planning permit triggered

    Construction of a Pergola or Verandah (no more than 3m in height at rear of the property

    No permit required

    ***

    No permit required

    ***

    No permit required

    ***


    Construction of a deck at rear of the property

    No permit required

    ***

    No permit required

    ***

    No permit required

    ***

    Construction of side or rear fence (not within 3m of the street frontage)

     No permit required

     No permit required

     No permit required

    Construction or extension of a swimming pool, spa or associated mechanical equipment at the rear of the property

     No permit required

     No permit required

     No permit required








    *Provided the extension is located at the rear of the property, is setback from side boundaries no less than the existing building and is no higher than the original dwelling.

    **Provided the extension is setback from the side of rear boundaries no less and is no higher than the existing building.

    ***Finished floor level must be no higher than 800mm above natural ground level and not visible from the street or a public park.   This does not apply if it would require the removal, demolition or alteration of a Significant feature (for significant properties only). 

    Please discuss any proposed development to your property with Council’s statutory planning department prior to commencing any works. 

    Why is an interim Heritage Overlay being requested?

    Development pressure in the area puts the heritage precinct at risk of its significance being eroded over time.  

    The application of an interim Heritage Overlay will allow Council to protect the heritage integrity and heritage values of Thornbury Park Estate whilst the amendment process (for permanent Heritage Overlay) is completed.

    What is the difference between a Significant, Contributory or non-contributory property?

    The proposed Heritage Overlay will apply to all properties contained within the area identified as Thornbury Park Estate (refer to map below). Each property will receive one of three heritage gradings, which determines how important each property is to the overall heritage value of the precinct. The three Heritage Overlay gradings are:

     You can view the map to check the property gradings.

    Significant

    A property identified as ‘Significant’ is individually significant as a heritage place and also contributes to the significance of the heritage precinct. 

    Contributory 

    A property identified as ‘Contributory’ is considered to contribute to the significance of the heritage precinct, when combined with other individually significant and/or contributory heritage places it demonstrates the identified significance of the precinct.

    Non-contributory

    Buildings identified as ‘non-contributory’ are not typically constructed in the primary or secondary development periods of the area.

    Non-contributory buildings are included because development of them may impact on the heritage significance of the precinct.

    Is 31-33 Comas Grove (Church Manse) now protected from demolition?

    A 1920s church manse at 31-33 Comas Grove Thornbury, was identified by Council as being at risk of demolition. However the demolition permit request has since expired, which means the church manse has no permit for demolition. A preliminary assessment into the heritage significance of 31-33 Comas Grove found that while the church manse was not individually significant, the property was likely to be significant when considered as part of a heritage precinct within the broader area. 

     

    A heritage study was then completed for the Thornbury Park Estate Precinct by consultants RB which confirmed the broader area (including the church manse) is of local heritage significance and warrants protection via the Heritage Overlay.

    With this new evidence, Council has since reapplied to have an interim heritage overlay apply to 31-33 Comas Grove on an interim basis until 29 April, 2022 (Amendment C197dare), whilst the permanent heritage control request for the Thornbury Park Estate precinct (Amendment C191) is processed. 

    Council is still awaiting the outcome of whether the interim controls via Amendment C197dare will be approved by the Minister. 

    My property is in a proposed interim heritage overlay. As it has not been approved yet can I still demolish my home and redevelop my property?

    Under the Building Act 1993 Section 29B demolition permits (Section 29A) can be suspended by Council if Council has applied for an interim heritage overlay. As Council has already applied for interim heritage controls for the proposed significant and contributory properties within Thornbury Park Estate (C197dare), any demolition request for these properties is very likely to be suspended. This is to protect the heritage significance of these properties as we are required under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 while permanent controls are being considered.

    Once the Minister makes a decision on the interim heritage overlay amendment, then applications can proceed in accordance with the planning scheme. If an interim heritage overlay is in place, works such as extensions to a dwelling or a commercial building that don’t harm the heritage significance of the place may still be allowed, but will require a planning permit. Please speak to Council’s statutory planning department to find out whether your proposed development may be acceptable.

    If the interim heritage overlay is approved for Thornbury Park how long does it last for? Can the expiry date be extended?

    Generally, the interim heritage overlay is in place for 12 months to allow time for the permanent heritage overlay to be considered. If closer to this date the permanent heritage controls (C191dare) have not yet been determined, Council can apply to the Minister for Planning to have the interim control expiry date extended to ensure significant and contributory properties are protected from demolition.

    Do interim heritage controls have the same level of restrictions as a normal heritage overlay?

    Yes, interim heritage controls, if approved by the Minister for Planning, have exactly the same buildings and works planning permit requirements as a permanent heritage overlay, which is outlined in Clause 43.01 to the Darebin Planning Scheme. Please note some minor buildings and works are still exempt from a planning permit under the Incorporated Plan- Permit Exemptions (2011, amended 2021) Document.  

    I’m part way through planning a renovation or building a home? What will happen to me?

    Depending on your specific circumstances, how the proposal affects your property could be different.  It’s important you contact Council to discuss your specific case with our officers.

    Council has requested an interim HO with the general purpose of preventing buildings being demolished while the decision about an HO is being considered.  This does mean that there will be some people may need to wait before they know what planning controls will apply, and/or who may need to adjust their plans to protect heritage.

    Will Council consider allowing people who have already started renovating to do so under the old rules?

    It depends on your specific case as to whether the old rules apply – please contact Council so we can let you know what applies in your specific case.   Council has requested an interim HO with the general purpose of preventing buildings being demolished while the decision about an HO is being considered.  This does mean that there will be some people may need to wait before they know what planning controls will apply, and/or who may need to adjust their plans to protect heritage.

    We encourage residents to let us know what you think about Council’s proposal but making a submission to the consultation process so that council can fully consider your views.