Heritage overlay

Two terrace houses

Is my property included in the heritage overlay?

You can find out if your property is included in the heritage overlay by creating a free property report. The report will tell you all the planning controls that affect your property.

To find out which properties are included in each precinct, you can look at the heritage database or the incorporated document which is called Database of Heritage Significant Areas. It is called an incorporated document because it forms part of the planning scheme.

What does a heritage overlay do?

  • conserve and enhance places of natural or cultural significance
  • conserve and enhance those elements which contribute to the significance of heritage places
  • ensure that development does not adversely affect the significance of heritage places
  • conserve specifically identified places by allowing a use that would otherwise be prohibited if this will demonstrably assist with the conservation of the significance of the place

Do I need a planning permit to do works to my property if it is in a heritage overlay?

A planning permit is normally required to undertake works to your building in a heritage overlay.

Under the heritage overlay a planning permit is required to:

  • subdivide or consolidate land
  • demolish or remove a building (including part of a building)
  • construct a building (including part of a building, or a fence)
  • externally alter a building
  • construct or carry out works
  • construct or display a sign
  • externally paint an unpainted surface

The heritage policy in the Yarra Planning Scheme provides guidance about how you should undertake the works.

The Victorian Heritage Council has prepared guidelines which provide further guidance to help you with your heritage project.

Do I need a planning permit to do works inside my property?

If the schedule to the overlay identifies that internal alteration controls apply, then you need a permit to do internal works.

If it does not identify internal alteration controls, then you do not need a permit to work inside your property.

Most properties do not have this control but a small number do.

Are any works exempt from the need for a planning permit?

Some minor works are exempt from the need for a planning permit. You can find details about what is exempt in the planning permit exemptions incorporated plan

When do additional controls apply?

In some instances, other external paint controls, internal alteration controls and tree controls may also apply. The schedule to the heritage overlay will identify whether these additional controls apply. There may also be other overlays that apply.

Check the guidelines

The Yarra Planning Scheme address issues relating to demolition, design, height, setback, car parking, and landscaping for existing buildings and places, and provide advice on new development suitable to heritage areas.

See the guidelines on the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure website, by choosing 22.02 Development Guidelines For Sites Subject To The Heritage Overlay.

What do the heritage gradings mean?

Each heritage building or precinct in the heritage overlay is graded according to its heritage contribution. Our heritage policy at clause 22.02 of the Yarra Planning Scheme tells you what changes you can make to your property. The higher the grading, the less change you can make.

Each heritage building or precinct is defined as:

Individually significant

This means the place is an individually important place. It may have an individual heritage overlay number or be part of a precinct. An individually significant property that is part of a precinct is considered both individually significant and contributory to the precinct. This is the highest grading.


This means the building contributes to the significance of the heritage precinct that it is located in. It is not individually significant but when combined with other individually significant and/or contributory heritage places, they contribute to the significance of the precinct.

Not contributory

The building or place is not individually significant and not contributory within the heritage place. This is the lowest grading. Buildings with this grading were not typically constructed in the primary or secondary development periods of the area, or are a poor expression of that era.

They are included within a heritage overlay because any development of them may impact on the heritage significance of the precinct or individually significant or contributory places in the precinct.

Other gradings


This means there was insufficient data to allow an assessment from the public domain, and more detailed analysis of this building is required.


This means the property is listed on the Victorian Heritage Database and Heritage Victoria decides on applications for development. We do not decide applications on registered buildings. These buildings are however included in our heritage overlay and all have a grading of individually significant.

Where can I get more information?

The heritage policy at clause 22.02 of the Yarra Planning Scheme explains what works are allowed to be undertaken to the place.