Melton Planning Scheme to protect dry stone walls

Proposed Amendment C100: Open for comment

Ecology and Heritage Partners | Dry stone wall - west of Melbourne
Ecology and Heritage Partners: Dry stone wall - west of Melbourne

Melton City Council has recently exhibited an amendment to the Melton Planning Scheme to protect specified dry stone walls.

Under Amendment C100 it is proposed to include 140 dry stone walls into the Schedule of the Heritage Overlay. Apart from two individual walls to be listed separately, the majority walls are included within five dry stone wall precincts.

Proposed Amendment C100 listings include:

  • HO200Mount Cottrell Precinct
  • HO201 – Mount Kororoit Precinct
  • HO202 – She-Oak Hill Precinct
  • HO203 – Mount Atkinson Precinct
  • HO204 – Greigs Road Precinct
  • HO205 – Selection Wall


While the Precincts identify the general location of walls, the Heritage Overlay will only apply to specific walls and a five meter buffer either side of these walls within a Precinct.

The proposed listings will implement the recommendations of an extensive Shire-wide study of dry stone walls: The City of Melton Dry Stone Wall Study, completed in 2011.


Dry stone walls in Melton

Dry stone walls are an important landscape feature of the volcanic plains west of Melbourne; they are a physical part of the Melton Shire’s neighbourhood character and cultural identity.

Increasing development pressure in the region has seen large numbers of dry stone walls disappear from the landscape under urban renewal.

The proposed listings will assist in protecting walls in the Shire that have been assessed as having local heritage significance. Many of the walls in the municipality date from the mid-19th century and are often associated with the massive pastoral runs that once covered most of the volcanic plains west of Melbourne.

To achieve this, Amendment C100 also introduces:

  • A new planning policy: Clause 22.14 Dry Stone Walls, to provide guidance for the assessment of a planning permit application that may impact upon a dry stone wall; and Includes the City of Melton Dry Stone Wall Study Volume 3 Statements of Significance as an Incorporated Document.


    The proposed listings will strengthen existing requirements for dry stone walls under the particular provisions, specifically Clause 52.37.

    Under Clause 52.37, a permit is required to ‘demolish, remove or alter’ a dry stone wall constructed before 1940, with the exception of installation of gates and reconstruction of damaged or collapsing walls to the same specifications.

    The Schedule to Clause 52.37 specifies that dry stone walls on all land in the municipality fall under this requirement. However, the Schedule will cease to have effect after 1 July 2016.

    It is unclear at present what the implication of this means to other dry stone walls in the municipality that are not part of the heritage overlay.

    How does the C100 amendment affect landowners, planners and developers?

    For landowners
    This means that there will be an expectation that registered dry stone walls on their properties will receive a higher level of maintenance. After the provisions of cl.52.37 cease, a permit may be required for any impacts to registered walls, including installation of gates.

    For planners and developers
    The listing on the heritage overlay means that a heritage permit will be required to remove or damage any of the registered walls as part of a proposed development. The specific significance values of each wall may inform the conditions of a heritage permit.

    However, the cessation of cl.52.37 may mean that dry stone walls that are not registered under the Heritage Overlay may no longer have protection, which would remove the requirement for a permit to damage or remove walls or parts of walls.

    Proposed amendment: Open for Comment

    You can provide your comments on the proposed amendment by visiting the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website (see here). Submissions must be sent to the Manager Planning and Environment at Melton City Council by 7 August 2015.

    Photo of dry stone walls in Greigs Road, Melton (left), Middle Road, Melton (right)
    Photo: Greigs Road, Melton (left), Middle Road, Melton (right)

    Dry Stone Wall Assessments

    We have completed a number of dry stone wall assessments, studies and recordings in the Melton, Wyndham and Whittlesea local government areas.

    These include more than 30 post contact heritage assessments for large Precinct Structure Plans, along with smaller studies and Conservation Management Plans. We provide expert advice that reflect the objectives of your project and ensure your project meets legislative heritage requirements. 

    Contact us

    We have been advising clients and planning authorities (e.g. Shire of Melton and the Metropolitan Planning Authority) regarding planning, protection and implications for impacts to dry stone walls.

    For further information on how this amendments may affect you contact Rick Bullers or one of our archaeologists on 03 9377 0100 or

    Relevant Link

    Recent ABC news on Dry Stonewalls 

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