Review of the Application of the Restructure Overlay

The municipality of Hepburn has several isolated rural settlements that were subdivided more than 20 years ago. Before adequate planning controls were in place, several subdivisions occurred where small lots were created despite significant physical, environmental and infrastructure constraints affecting the land. These subdivisions were in and around the Shire including:

Drummond - an isolated rural residential settlement located approximately 23 kilometres northeast of Daylesford. Drummond is located to the west of Malmsbury-Daylesford Road adjacent to an expansive, heavily forested area immediate west and north. Land to the east is cleared and used for farming.

Sailors Falls - approximately seven kilometres south of Daylesford to the west of Ballan-Daylesford Road. The area is characterised by an expansive, heavily forested area to the immediate west and north. The area is isolated from other urban development. Agricultural lands extend east and south with further expansive forest beyond to the east.

Old and inappropriate subdivisions

The restructuring of “old and inappropriate subdivisions” has been used in Victoria as a means of dealing with areas of existing subdivided land which are subject to use and development constraints, and which if developed to their full capacity, would have serious environmental, servicing and social impacts. Implementation of measures to bring about a restructure is consistent with the Hepburn Planning Scheme Review Final Report – February 2020 (also known as Amendment C80).  


Purpose of Restructure Overlay and restructure plan

The Victoria Planning Provisions identify the purpose of a Restructure Overlay as:

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.
  • To identify old and inappropriate subdivisions which are to be restructured.
  • To preserve and enhance the amenity of the area and reduce environmental impacts of dwellings.

The intent of the Restructure Overlay is:

  • to indicate the location of a restructure plan (incorporated into the planning scheme and listed in the schedule to the overlay); and
  • to identify how old and inappropriate subdivisions may be restructured by consolidating smaller lots to create new lots of a size and configuration which are suitable for the construction of a dwelling, and which do not prejudice the environmental capacity and landscape qualities of the area.

In many cases this means that several lots must be consolidated into one. They also act to preserve and enhance the amenity of the area and reduce the environmental impacts of dwellings and other development.

Restructure plans are intended to guide consolidation of land to a more appropriate size and to determine what land is suitable for development and clarify development constraints and opportunities.


What are the objectives to be achieved using a restructure plan?

The objectives of the restructure plan under the Restructure Overlay are to:

  • Ensure that existing old and inappropriate subdivisions are restructured in a manner that reduces development densities, that provides development opportunities consistent with the capacity of the site and the area to absorb such development without adverse impact on the environment and landscape of the area and without creating undue social and utility servicing pressures.
  • Ensure that the restructure of old and inappropriate subdivisions assists in achieving environmental and landscape objectives for the area generally and that development of these lots is environmentally sensitive in its siting, design and construction.
  • Ensure that adequate and proper servicing arrangements are made while recognising that there are often environmental impacts and high costs associated with infrastructure and utility service provisions.
  • Ensure that any permit granted to construct or extend a dwelling or other building requires the consolidation of lots in accordance with the relevant Restructure Map, where the lots needed for consolidation are in common ownership.
  • Recognise that restructure lots generally have poor accessibility and are often in isolated locations removed from community and other service facilities.
  • Recognise that restructure areas are often located in high fire hazard areas and that any new development must be sited and designed to minimise fire hazard.


What are the requirements for development in the Restructure Overlay?

A permit is required to construct or extend a dwelling or other building.

A permit must be in accordance with a restructure plan for the land listed in a schedule to this overlay. This does not apply if:

  • No restructure plan is listed in the schedule and the permit is required to extend an existing dwelling or other building.
  • The land is a lot for which a permit has been granted under Clause 45.05-1.


What is the issue?

When the Restructure Overlay was originally introduced into the Hepburn Planning Scheme more than 20 years ago, a fundamental component, the restructure plan was not included to guide development and ensure that unsuitable land is not developed with the addition of a dwelling. This means that no permit application can be supported because there is not an approved restructure plan in the planning scheme for these areas.  


What is the Restructure Overlay Project?

Council officers are now undertaking Stage One of the Restructure Overlay Project to compile all historical information relevant to the land that is affected by the Restructure Overlay in Drummond and Sailors Falls. In some cases, Council officers may contact affected landowners and invite them to contribute any relevant historical information pertaining to the planning development approvals relating to their land. Participation by landowners is encouraged but is completely voluntary. Note that if landowners have access to historic planning permit documentation this may help complete the project sooner.

The project stages are intended as follows:



Where can I access more information?

Should you wish to find out more information about how you are affected, please contact Hepburn Shire’s Strategic Planning team at or by phone on 5348 2306