Hepburn Planning Scheme Review – Background

Your input is needed

We are currently seeking community input on the draft Hepburn Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and local planning policies. These drafts have been prepared by Plan2Place Consulting on behalf of Council for community consultation. They are not Council policy.

We have prepared a short video explainer presented by Paul Buxton, Director of Plan2Place Consulting outlining the purpose of the new MPS and local policies and how you can provide feedback. This is in lieu of face to face consultation not being an option at the current time.

Click here for the video content

There is also a presentation that further explains the new MPS and local policies if you want more detail. 

To read the draft MPS.

To read the draft local policies:

These local policies need to be read in conjunction with State and Regional Policy. To view these, please visit https://planning-schemes.delwp.vic.gov.au/schemes/hepburn and review State and Regional Clauses 11- 19.

To provide feedback, please fill in the attached survey on the MPS https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Draft_Municipal_Planning_Strategy_Surveyand the local planning policies https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Planning_Policies_survey

These surveys will be available for comments until Thursday 9 April 2020.

What is a Planning Scheme?

A planning scheme sets out the way land can be used, developed and protected, and guides planning and development decisions.

All land within Hepburn is affected by the planning scheme and is subject to its provisions.

Why is this important for you?

The planning scheme affects everyone because it outlines how and where people can develop or use their land in the Hepburn Shire.

Why are we reviewing and rewriting the Planning Scheme?

The planning scheme is being reviewed to ensure that it is up to date and addresses key issues that our municipality is experiencing now, or we think it may face in the future.

We need to align the planning scheme to recent strategies and plans such as the Council Plan 2017-2021, the Regional Growth Plan and other plans undertaken by Council. We also need to include the foundations in the planning scheme for future strategic work.

Council has engaged Plan2Place Consulting to work with the community to review the Hepburn Planning Scheme.

What is in the planning scheme?

The planning scheme includes state, regional and local planning policies, strategies and provisions in a Planning Policy Framework (PPF).

The planning scheme includes tools include zones, overlays, provisions and general provisions.

How the planning scheme fits together

Planning Policy Framework (State)State policies that affect all planning schemes in Victoria
Planning Policy Framework (Regional)Regional policies that apply to planning schemes within a particular region
Planning Policy Framework (Local)Municipal Planning Strategy and local planning policies that apply to a particular planning scheme
ZonesIncluding residential, commercial and rural zones
OverlaysIncluding heritage, design and development and environmental significance overlays
Particular ProvisionsIncluding open space contributions and native vegetation controls
General ProvisionsIncluding general permit exemptions

The Hepburn Planning Scheme is prepared and adopted by Council with the Minister for Planning providing final approval.

A revised planning scheme

A planning scheme must be reviewed by Council to ensure that it is achieving the strategic objectives for land use and development that are aspired to.

The Victorian Government requires that all planning schemes are prepared based on a new model that includes a Municipal Planning Strategy and a Planning Policy Framework which integrates state, regional and local planning policies. This will result in the Hepburn Planning Scheme looking different to how it currently looks.

Click here background information to the Hepburn Planning Scheme Review

Planning Scheme Review Report Adopted by Council – February 2020

Hepburn Planning Scheme Review

Hepburn Planning Scheme Data and Evidence Report Final 12022020

Hepburn Planning Scheme Audit and Review Report Final 12022020

Timeline and Process for 2020

Outcomes of the Planning Scheme Review

At its Ordinary Council meeting on 18 February 2020, Council adopted the recommendations of the Review Report and authorised officers to progress with developing a revised planning scheme.  The Review Report will now be sent to the Minister for Planning.

Developing a revised planning scheme

The development of a revised planning scheme will enable the Planning Scheme Review’s findings to be reflected in the Hepburn Planning Scheme. Revisions to the planning scheme will take the form of:

  • Replacing the Municipal Strategic Statement with a concise Municipal Planning Strategy which updates the municipal context and strategic directions
  • Replacing local planning policies to ensure that they meet the challenges of land use and development in the 21st century
  • Revised schedules to the zones, overlays and particular provision schedules that meet government guidelines and requirements
  • Updated mapping
  • Updated background documents.

How does a planning scheme amendment work?

A planning scheme amendment is a statutory process that revises a planning scheme. It involves making changes to the scheme that will improve planning outcomes. The community can comment on the proposed changes and can make submissions at key steps of the process.

Council decides at three check points whether to prepare, exhibit and approve a planning scheme amendment (refer attached time line).  If submissions are made to a planning scheme amendment during the exhibition period, these are referred by Council to an independent planning panel for consideration with a report prepared. Council, and then ultimately the Minister for Planning, can decide if the planning scheme amendment is approved or abandoned.

Opportunities to input

There will be opportunities for the community and stakeholder groups to provide input to the revised planning scheme. A range of revised policy directions were provided through the Review process undertaken in 2019. These will be further developed and refined over the coming months. This will ensure that the community can be part of the process of developing the revised scheme. Council will ultimately have to determine the final content particularly if there is disagreement within the community or stakeholders.

Ongoing opportunities to refine the scheme as it is developed include:

  1. Testing the key directions of the new Municipal Planning Strategy and local planning policies

This is critical as it provides the underpinning of the more technical aspects of the planning scheme.

See above for how you can contribute to this process.

  1. Focus groups

These groups will assist in technical aspects of key themes of the scheme. These are likely to include focus groups for themes such as natural environment, built environment, heritage and affordable housing.

Note: Due to the current circumstances we have not been able to conduct the focus groups face to face however we have developed a range of other consultation tools (see above).

  1. Submissions to draft amendment

Once a draft of the revised planning scheme (called an amendment) has been fully developed, it will be placed on exhibition and be part of a formal process. There will be an opportunity for all to provide input to the proposed amendment through the lodging of a submission. Council must consider all these submissions and determine if any changes are required in response. More information on how you can make a submission will be provided in coming months.

  1. Independent Planning Panel

Council must refer any submissions received to an independent planning panel for their consideration. This provides the opportunity for an independent party to provide an independent review separate from Council and the consultants developing the planning scheme on your behalf. People who provide a submission have an opportunity to present to the independent planning panel for their consideration.

What has the review process included?

  1. Community has their say

We sought community feedback to identify aspirations for the future of land use and development in the municipality that the planning scheme should address.

  1. Data and evidence are collected

The Consultant team compiled data and information for the municipality, reviewed the performance of the current planning scheme and factor in broader strategic trends to inform the key strategic directions for the future.

  1. Community input

We sought further community input and feedback to ensure that we heard and understood the key issues that people felt the planning scheme should address. The consultant team tested some options to tackle these issues in a second round of consultation.

  1. Planning Scheme Review Report

We used the feedback we received from the community and other key stakeholders to draft the Planning Scheme Review Report.

  1. Report finalised and submitted to the Minister for Planning

At the Council meeting of 18 February 2020, Council adopted the final report. Following endorsement by Council, the review report was then be submitted to the Minister for Planning.

  1. Implement the actions and recommendations

Implementation of these key issues and recommendations will be incorporated into an updated Hepburn Planning Scheme. Further consultation on this new planning scheme will be provided in 2020.

Key findings from 2019 community engagement

In the first round of consultation we asked you what your aspirations were for Hepburn, what you wanted to see stay the same and what you wanted to change. Below is a summary of what you told us.


Agricultural land is a valued resource in Hepburn. Agriculture is part of the Shire’s history and will remain an important business providing jobs and opportunities into the future. You told us:

  • Agricultural land should be protected
  • A more flexible approach to what constitutes agriculture should be considered with potential for innovation and different farming practices.

Potential planning scheme responses were tested in the second round of consultation. To view these please click on the following link: Agriculture Theme

Landscape Protection

The landscape of Hepburn Shire is loved and is a key asset of the Shire. Protecting the landscape from development or major change is important. You told us the planning scheme should:

  • Offer protection for current landscapes
  • Prevent development that impacts negatively on landscapes.

Potential planning scheme responses were tested in the second round of consultation. To view these please click on the following link: Landscape Protection Theme 

Township Character

The townships are loved and valued by residents and visitors alike with a strong sense of community and the heritage character. You told us the townships should:

  • Maintain the heritage and small town feel
  • Provide opportunities for a range of services and facilities (not just tourist shops)
  • Look for opportunities to provide a range of housing options including affordable housing.

Potential planning scheme responses were tested in the second round of consultation. To view these please click on the following link: Town Character Theme

Growth and Development

Some development within Hepburn Shire is inevitable to provide housing and services for residents and visitors. This should be carefully considered and be in keeping with the heritage and rural feel of the areas. You told us development should:

  • Be kept within town boundaries
  • Be in keeping with local surrounds (maintain gardens, heritage and general level of density)
  • Not impact on landscapes
  • Occur in a planned and considered way.

Potential planning scheme responses were tested in the second round of consultation. To view these please click on the following link: Growth and Development Theme

Environment and Sustainability

Hepburn Shire is an area with a range of renewable resources that are valued by community and visitors. The sustainable use of these resources and protecting them for future generations is essential. To remain sustainable you told us we should:

  • Protect the food growing heritage/ soil/ water/ infrastructure
  • Plan for/ mitigate against climate change
  • Better protect environmental resources
  • Plan to mitigate the impact of bushfire

Potential planning scheme responses were tested in the second round of consultation. To view these please click on the following link: Environment and Sustainability Theme


Tourism is an important industry in Hepburn Shire. Visitors enjoy the opportunity to visit the beautiful towns and countryside. Tourism will remain an essential industry for Hepburn Shire. To manage tourism you told us we should:

  • Broadly maintain the current tourism that is on offer
  • Manage tourism to ensure the need of tourists and residents are met
  • Look at methods to maintain housing affordability for local residents
  • Look at opportunities to reduce the numbers of empty houses.

Potential planning scheme responses were tested in the second round of consultation. To view these please click on the following link: Tourism Theme


Planning is often confusing and costly. Residents need to have a clear understanding of the planning rules and their rights and responsibilities. You told us Hepburn Shire can assist in this by:

  • Ensuring a consistent approach to the application of planning scheme
  • Reviewing some designations particularly rural living and agricultural land
  • Assessing the opportunity for succession planning by providing housing opportunities on rural land (second dwelling)
  • Clarifying how and when land can be subdivided
  • Reviewing the zoning of marginal farming land.

Potential planning scheme responses were tested in the second round of consultation. To view these please click on the following link: Planning Theme


Hepburn Shire covers a large area and requires good infrastructure to provide for its community. You told us that:

  • There is a need for better transport connections
  • Infrastructure needs to keep up with population/tourism growth.

Potential planning scheme responses were tested in the second round of consultation. To view these please click on the following link: Infrastructure Theme

Next steps

We will:

  • Take into account your thoughts.
  • Refine research about how the planning scheme is performing.
  • Seek your feedback on possible responses.
  • Develop a series of recommended actions for Council to consider that will shape the new planning scheme. (Planning scheme review report)
  • Report back to you on what Council decides to prioritise.
  • Inform you of further opportunities to provide your input to the new planning scheme.
WP-Backgrounds by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann