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Maldon Design Guidelines Review (Amendment C96)

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 assist Council’s Statutory Planners and Heritage and Urban Design Officer/ Heritage Advisor in assessing planning applications in Maldon.

Where are we now?

Step 7 Approval

The Minister for Planning authorised Mount Alexander Shire Council as the planning authority to prepare the planning scheme amendment to replace the current Maldon Design Guidelines in the Mount Alexander Planning Scheme with the updated Maldon Design Guidelines that Council adopted at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 15 September 2020.

The amendment went on a public exhibition period of six weeks, which closed on 10 October 2021. Council received submissions during the exhibition period, which were considered by Council at the Council meeting on 21 December 2021. As some of the submissions could not be resolved, Council appointed a Planning Panel to review the submissions.

The Panel Hearing was held on Friday 4 March 2022, via videoconference and Council has since received the Panel's report. The Planning Panel report can be viewed by clicking on the below link:

Planning Panel Report - Amendment C96malx

At the Ordinary Council Meeting on 21 June 2022, Councillors adopted the Amendment with the final version of the Guidelines that incorporate the Planning Panel’s recommendations. On 27 June 2022, Council Officers submitted the final Amendment documentation to the Minister for Planning for consideration of approval.

Now that the Minister has received the Amendment documentation, they must make a decision on the amendment within 40 business days. If the Amendment is approved, the amendment process is completed and the Maldon Design Guidelines are successfully Gazetted and incorporated into the Mount Alexander Planning Scheme.

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.

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, 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 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) was made available in August 2020 that includes details on the key considerations for the final guidelines and other significant feedback.

The planning scheme amendment to introduce the updated guidelines involved a formal public exhibition period that was undertaken from 30 August 2021 for a period of six weeks until 10 October 2021. As part of this exhibition period, the following notification was provided (in accordance with the requirements of the Planning and Environment Act 1987):

· Notice in the Victorian Government Gazette (Thursday 2 September 2021)
· Letters to authorities (including DELWP, Heritage Victoria, National Trust, and the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal
· Letters to prescribed ministers (as required under Section 191c of the Act)
· Letters to all affected properties and landowners
· Inclusion in the Council Column of the Midland Express and Tarrangower Times

In addition to the notice provided above, the following was also undertaken throughout the exhibition period:

· Community ‘drop-in’ sessions (online due to Covid-19 restrictions)
· Phone call and email enquiries
· Update Maldon Design Guidelines web page to list the process, timeframes, exhibited documentation and frequently asked
· Media release (Friday 3 September 2021)

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.

Heritage Advisory Service

Council offers a heritage advisory service. For more information, click here. Our heritage officer can assist you in working with the guidelines, and assist with detailed design considerations such as colours or fencing. An online resource for colours can be found here, or, you can view a hard copy of the Munsell Colour Chart by contacting our heritage advisory service by clicking on the link above.


For further information, please contact Council’s Strategic Planning team on (03) 5471 1700 or email

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