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Maldon Design Guidelines Review

Historic Maldon

The Maldon Design Guidelines provide detailed design criteria for new development in Maldon’s heritage precincts and areas affected by the Significant Landscape Overlay Schedules 1 and 3.

The guidelines aim to encourage buildings that complement the historic streetscape character of Maldon and do not dominate or compete with the historically significant place.

What are the Maldon Design Guidelines?

The Maldon Design Guidelines are part of an incorporated document to the Mount Alexander Planning Scheme. The guidelines provide detailed design criteria for new development in Maldon covered by a Heritage Overlay, including the heritage precincts and the areas affected by the Significant Landscape Overlay Schedules 1 and 3.

The guidelines assist permit applicants (including property owners, architects, planners and builders) in preparing designs for new buildings or works or alterations to existing buildings. They also assists Council’s Statutory Planners and Heritage and Urban Design Officer/ Heritage Advisor in assessing planning applications in Maldon.

Over the past 18 months, Council has undertaken an extensive review of the guidelines in collaboration with urban and heritage advisors, and input from the Maldon Design Guidelines Project Advisory Group. This has led to an updated version of the Maldon Design Guidelines.

Why a review was needed?

The Maldon Design Guidelines were originally prepared for the Shire of Maldon Planning Scheme in the 1970s and became an incorporated document in the new format Mount Alexander Planning Scheme in 1998/1999.

No comprehensive review of, or update to, the guidelines had occurred since they were originally prepared. Consequently, the current guidelines in the planning scheme are:
• Outdated in terms of contemporary heritage and planning policy and legislation.
• Contain errors, anomalies and ambiguities for example, repetitive content and contradictions.
• Have issues relating to prescriptive provisions, e.g. no context, objectives or principles to justify prescriptive provisions are provided.
• Are very poorly structured and therefore difficult to navigate.

The revision will bring the guidelines up-to-date in terms of heritage status, planning policy and legislation; remove errors, anomalies, and repetition; and add context to prescriptive provisions. They are consistent with current planning policy and legislation, while making them easier to use for residents, property owners, businesses, architects and builders.

Timeline: Where are we now?

Project timeline for Maldon Design Guidelines update

Mount Alexander Shire Council adopted the final updated Maldon Design Guidelines at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 15 September 2020.

Maldon Design Guidelines (2020) (Adopted by Council)

What consultation has occurred up until now?

The updated draft Maldon Design Guidelines were released for public consultation in February 2020, along with a background paper. Over a six week consultation period, Council’s Strategic Planning team undertook a range of community activities to inform and engage the Maldon community in discussions about the draft guidelines. This included two drop in sessions in Maldon, a survey, three guided walks through Maldon’s town centre with Council’s heritage advisor, and meetings and conversations with community groups, government agencies and referral authorities.

In addition to survey responses, Council received a number of written submissions from individuals including Maldon residents, business owners and historians, and design and heritage professionals and the National Trust. Feedback on the updated draft guidelines was also provided by the community at two community drop-in sessions in Maldon.

The Strategic Planning unit has considered and analysed the details of this feedback and key changes were made to the updated guidelines as a result.

A project bulletin (August 2020) is now available that includes details on the key considerations for the final guidelines and other significant feedback.

What's next?

Council will now seek authorisation from the Minister for Planning to prepare an amendment to incorporate the updated guidelines in the planning scheme (replacing the current guidelines). A formal public exhibition will form part of the planning scheme amendment process.

Maldon Significant Landscape Overlay review

Following the completion of the review and update of the Maldon Design Guidelines, a technical review of the Significant Landscape Overlays which apply to Maldon was undertaken. The Significant Landscape Overlay is a planning tool which seeks to identify significant landscape, and conserve and enhance the character of significant landscapes. The Significant Landscape Overlays which apply to Maldon are Significant Landscape Overlay – Schedule 1 ‘Maldon Landscape Area’ and Significant Landscape Overlay – Schedule 3 ‘Scenic Landscape Area (approaches to Maldon)’. The purpose of the technical review of the Significant Landscape Overlays was to address whether the Maldon Design Guidelines should apply to areas covered by the Significant Landscape Overlay, and whether it is the most appropriate tool to manage the identified values.

The review outlined that the recently updated Maldon Design Guidelines should apply to land within the Maldon township boundary (that are affected by Significant Landscape Overlay – Schedule 1 and Significant Landscape Overlay – Schedule 3), but not to the wider landscape surrounds (outside the township boundary) which are affected by the Significant Landscape Overlay. This reflects what is stated within the Maldon Design Guidelines.

The review includes a recommendation for a small and focused Landscape Assessment Study of the Maldon surrounds and its interface with the township, to accurately determine the extents of the significant landscape, and to confirm that the Significant Landscape Overlay is indeed the appropriate planning tool to apply to the residentially zoned areas of Maldon. The findings of the landscape assessment should underpin the application of the Significant Landscape Overlay, and inform the contents of two new schedules:

- One for the wider and extensive landscape outside the Maldon township boundary; and
- One for the significant landscape areas within the township boundary.

The Maldon Significant Landscape Overlay review was completed in November 2020.

Contact

For further information, please contact Council’s Strategic Planning team on (03) 5471 1700 or email info@mountalexander.vic.gov.au.

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