Protecting Winchelsea’s village character and country charm

May 18, 2022 BY

New planning is set to protect Winchelsea's historic, country charm. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE historic character and charm of regional town Winchelsea will be protected and enhanced following a new planning scheme amendment adopted by the Surf Coast Shire.

Amendment C134 will implement the Winchelsea Town Centre and Highway Design Guidelines which were adopted in 2019 and aim to preserve the town of Winchelsea and the parts that locals love.

The new plan will encourage a pedestrian friendly built environment that honours its setting on the banks of the Barwon River.=

Under the new guidelines, a focus will be made on all Commercial 1 zoned land in the locality as well as residential land that borders the highway on entry to the town.

The newest amendment to the plans will give the guidelines statutory weight in the planning scheme and provide a greater chance for approval when planning permit applications are received.

The amendment was placed on public exhibition late last year, and three submissions were received.

All three of these submissions have now been resolved by the Surf Coast Shire.

Cr Adrian Schonfelder said the amendment represented good planning practice with a goal of making Winchelsea a tourist destination.

“The amendment aims to stimulate the town as a tourist destination with a distinctive historic charm, and celebrate the picturesque setting on the Barwon River,” he said.

“Through the Council Plan consultation, many community members said they wanted a small town feel in the various settlements within the shire, and I believe that’s something we’re retaining.”

Cr Heather Wellington said Winchelsea’s unique charm needed to be protected for future generations.

“It’s one of the most charming towns in the shire thanks to the height of the buildings, the size of the blocks, the character of the buildings and the setbacks from the roads.

There’s a range of things that contribute to making it beautiful.”

Cr Wellington said consultation on the matter had been thorough and that council was pleased to have resolved all outstanding issues, including those related to the future needs of healthcare facilities such as Hesse Rural Health.

The shire will now submit Amendment C134 to the Minister for Planning for approval.