Neighbourhood character and heritage

Strategic objective

Protect the heritage and respect the character of the City to maintain amenity and liveability whilst recognising the need for appropriate, well-designed development for future generations.

Key figures

  • $5.1 million net operating cost
  • 1,215 planning applications received
  • 2,396 building permits issued within Boroondara.


Municipal Wide Heritage Study


Protect the City’s heritage by continuing the Municipal Wide Heritage Study - a pro-active assessment program of all properties outside the existing Heritage Overlay in the Boroondara Planning Scheme.

Project overview

Local heritage, neighbourhood character and careful management of new developments all contribute to Boroondara’s uniqueness and liveability. Heritage overlays are in place to protect places of aesthetic, social or historical value.

The community has raised concerns with Council over many years about the loss of valuable heritage properties and precincts throughout Boroondara. This includes the loss of valued heritage properties that are not within the Heritage Overlay.

In response to these concerns, Council initiated the Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study, the largest heritage work program undertaken in Boroondara’s history. The project seeks to identify and protect heritage properties throughout Boroondara that are currently not included in the existing Heritage Overlay. The total cost of the Study is anticipated to exceed $1.2 million over five years.

Project aims

The Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study seeks to identify and protect heritage properties and precincts, consistent with the priorities set out in the adopted Heritage Action Plan 2016.

Project outcomes

Since the initiation of the Study over 5,000 heritage properties across Boroondara have been identified through suburb-based heritage assessments. Interim heritage controls have been applied to over 4,000 properties in Canterbury, Camberwell, Hawthorn, Kew and Hawthorn East combined. The final study for Ashburton will be completed shortly, prior to preliminary consultation commencing.

It is expected that the Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study will identify and ultimately deliver greater protection of Boroondara’s heritage for the long term through the inclusion of additional properties in the Heritage Overlay.

For more information about heritage in Boroondara, see Heritage.

Summary of other achievements

  • Progressing the Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study that will identify and deliver greater protection of Boroondara’s heritage for the long term through the inclusion of additional properties in the Heritage Overlay.
  • Undertaken a successful communications campaign on reducing the rate of non-working smoke alarms, as measured at fires the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) attended in Boroondara. 
  • Consulted with relevant authorities in relation to the Victorian Statewide Cladding Audit, and have been involved in the process of auditing and enforcing buildings containing combustible cladding, ensuring essential safety measures are being maintained for the safety of the occupants.

Building permits approved within 30 days

Bar graph: 2014-15: 93%; 2015-16: 99%; 2016-17: 100%; 2017-18: 97%; 2018-19: 71%

Planning applications processed within 60 days

Bar graph. 2013-14: 83%; 2014-15: 76%; 2015-16: 81%; 2016-17: 79%; 2017-18: 74%; 2018-19: 75%


  • The Minister for Planning has introduced a Planning Permit Exemption in the Boroondara Planning Scheme which allows property owners to act on a Building Permit for demolition, despite the introduction of interim heritage controls. The exemption has been applied specifically to Boroondara. The Minister's decision undermines the work undertaken through the Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study to protect places of identified heritage value. 
  • There is ongoing community concern about the timely protection of heritage places in Boroondara. The challenge facing Council is effectively protecting places of heritage value within a statutory process where the Minister for Planning is the final decision maker and in the context of the planning permit exemptions introduced through the planning scheme.
  • The ongoing Statewide Cladding Audit led by the Victorian Building Authority will continue to have implications on Council resources with additional enforcement inspection and follow up action required to be carried out by qualified and skilled Building Surveying staff.