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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 Moreland Planning Scheme may be amended to include and protect new heritage sites. You can learn more about this on our Moreland 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 Moreland 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 Moreland 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.

Victorian Heritage Restoration Fund (VHRF)

Council has partnered with the Victoria’s Heritage Restoration Fund (VHRF) to offer grants to help fund restoration works to heritage places located in Merri-bek. The grant program is called the Merri-bek Heritage Restoration Fund (MCCHRF), with funding provided by Merri-bek Council.

The MCCHRF program is currently only offered for the 2024 calendar year. 

The VHRF have finished many projects where they have partnered with other councils in Victoria, which you can see on their website.

  • VHRF funding aims to:

    • Provide financial assistance to eligible applicants for conservation works to places of identified as locally significant to the City of Merri-Bek.
    • Enhance original significant features of properties (this can be dwellings or commercial properties, (for example shop fronts).
    • Work on features that will be present within the streetscape and on original features only.

    VHRF funding cannot be used for:

    • General maintenance works or repair works normal to a dwelling (for example repairs to gutters and downpipes, roof plumbing or re-stumping).
    • Council-owned properties.
    • Works already commenced or completed.
  • Only properties within Merri-bek's heritage overlay can be eligible for a VHRF funding.

    To recieve VHRF funding for these places of heritage significance, you will need to show that the grant will:

    • Enhance the original (or early appearance) and overall improvement of the place of heritage significance.
    • Involve works that are visible from the public realm (focus should be given to the external envelope).
    • Reconstruct only original features.
    • Provide evidence that the work is of a reconstructive or restorative nature (this can be through building plans, photos, drawings or through evidence of the place), except in cases where works are conducted to meet building accessibility regulations only.
    • Be put forward by the property owner or a lessee who has the written consent from the owner and a remaining term of lease longer than any completion deadline.
  • If you are eligible for VHRF funding you will need to:

    • Complete an online application
    • Provide quotes from heritage restoration trades
    • Provide photo evidence of the project
    • Complete up-to-date titles

    VHRF can assist with the application process.

  • All grant applications must be subitted to the VHRF through their website.

    VHRF - Apply

    The VHRF can also help with any questions on the process and with any application to the Merri-bek Heritage Restoration Fund. 

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

The Merri-bek Planning Scheme includes a list of all the heritage places and precincts that are within the municpality at Clause 43.01 - Schedule to the Heritage Overlay.

Heritage Victoria also have a useful mappingn tool that you can access here

Council's 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 Merri-bek Civic Centre. You can find out more about the Customer Service Centre at Merri-bek Civic Centre on our Contact us page.