The Macedon Ranges Shire is characterised by varying landscape types – from forests and ranges, to volcanic planes, ridges and valleys. Within these landscape types there are a range of significant landscapes, some of which take in iconic features that are recognised throughout the state and across the country.
Landscapes are formed and defined by both visual elements – such as topography, vegetation, and waterways – as well as elements that cannot be seen – such as cultural, environmental, and geological values that can be attributed to a landscape.
To ensure that significant landscapes across the shire are protected, and that development within them is properly managed, Council commenced the preparation of a Landscape Assessment Study.
The primary purpose of the study is to assess the visual significance of landscapes based on background research, community observations, and technical expertise.
The Study area includes the whole shire, excluding land within settlement boundaries.
There are two exceptions to the exclusion of land within settlement boundaries, in locations where the Significant Landscape Overlay currently applies. These include Magnet Hill in Gisborne, and Golf Course Hill in Woodend. It was determined through the study process that these two areas should be included to ensure that the overlay schedules applying to them are up to date and reflective of the boundary and significance of the landscape.
In all other settlement areas, structure planning is the most appropriate process to manage landscapes, as it allows an assessment to be undertaken in the context of other detailed considerations that form part of settlement planning.
What we heard from the community
In February 2018, we asked the community to tell us which landscapes were most special to them, and why. A number of submissions were received, with some including photos of scenic and iconic landscapes and views across the Shire. These submissions were an important input into a broader landscape significance assessment, which is explained below.