Eltham gateway

The Eltham Gateway area follows Main Road, between Porter Street to the south-west and Dudley Street to the north-east. This area is recognised for its special significance as the historic entrance to the Eltham township and for its landscape character and generally secluded building scale, form and line. In the 1800s, the Gateway was the location of the Eltham township. Today, it contains a number of historical buildings and range of land uses spread along its length. The northern portion can be characterised as mixed use, consisting of modest scale offices, artisans, community uses and some medium density housing. The southern portion is predominately residential in nature.

The special qualities of the Eltham Gateway as an entrance to Eltham are recognised, protected and enhanced through the achievement of the following preferred character:

  • The Eltham Gateway provides a strong sense of arrival into Eltham and exemplifies the natural and historical qualities of the township
  • The strong presence of native and exotic vegetation, particularly canopy trees, reinforce the vegetation dominated character of the area
  • Building sited and designed to integrate with the landscape setting and sympathetic to the historical context

In order to recognise, protect and enhance this special character, stringent planning controls have been implemented into the Nillumbik Planning Scheme. These controls relate to development, advertising signage, fencing and vegetation removal. The provisions of the Design and Development Overlay (Schedule 1) should be read in conjunction with the Eltham Gateway Policy (Clause 22.10) and the applicable zone of your property.

The objectives of the Eltham Gateway Policy are

  • To recognise, protect and enhance the special character of the landscape and built form of the Eltham Gateway area as an entrance to the Eltham township
  • To promote use and development complementary to the character of the area
  • To provide an opportunity for the development of a variety of residential densities and dwelling types in consideration of the existing landscape and the proximity of services

Due to the complexity of these planning controls, it is imperative that you confirm permit requirements with Council’s Planning Unit before commencing any form of construction works or vegetation removal. 

Please note that substantial penalties apply for any illegal buildings and works, advertising signage, fencing and/or vegetation removal or destruction.

Amongst other considerations, the following should be considered when planning development and/or land use within the Eltham Gateway

  • Advertising signs should be unobtrusive and the duplication of signs should be avoided. A permit is required for most signs, and the total advertisement area to each property for a business identification sign should not exceed 3 square metres
  • Hours of operation for non-residential uses should be limited to protect the amenity of the residential uses in the area
  • A mix of residential, small scale office and community uses should be the predominant uses. Retail uses, warehouses, trade supplies, service stations and similar uses will be strongly discouraged
  • Varied and rustic architecture which is sympathetic with historical architecture (a character generally embodied in timber or mud-brick, high gabled buildings) will be generally encouraged
  • In addition to constructing a building and/or carrying out works, a permit is required to externally alter a building by structural work, painting, plastering, sand blasting or in any other way
  • Developments which seek prominent locations and/or setbacks substantially less than that of surrounding buildings will be strongly discouraged. Buildings should not intrude into major view lines from public and road areas. A permit is also required to construct a fence that is within a distance of 6 metres from the nearest road boundary
  • Reproduction-like corporate commercial architecture and signage will be discouraged. New development will be encouraged to enhance the natural and built character of the Eltham Gateway
  • Non-residential uses should provide car parking on-site at a location which would screen the car park from Main Road, whilst providing safe and efficient access. Car parking within the front setbacks of buildings is strongly discouraged
  • Car parking should be provided on-site, and any reduction or waiving of car parking spaces (as required by the Nillumbik Planning Scheme) will generally not be supported for sites fronting Main Road, as on-street car parking is unavailable

The following Council publications and studies may prove useful when planning any development and/or land use within the Eltham Gateway

  • Design and Siting Eltham Gateway Guidelines (1987)
  • Eltham Gateway Study (1987)


This advice is to be used as a general guide only. Council has made all reasonable effort to ensure the information is true and accurate. However, it is recommended that readers seek professional advice before acting or making decisions on the basis of this information. For any questions or clarification, please contact Council’s Planning Services on 9433 3343.

Checklist for planning assessment

The following information (as a minimum) must accompany any planning permit application for development, use and/or vegetation removal on land within the Eltham Gateway (DDO1)

  • Appropriate application fee (schedule of fees available on Council’s website or at the Shire offices)
  • Completed application form (available on Council’s website or at the Shire offices)
  • Full copy of property title, searched from Land Victoria within the last 6 months, along with any related plan of subdivision, restrictions, covenants or agreements (available from Land Victoria or at www.land.vic.gov.au) - see planning advice 4 - Obtaining a Copy of Title
  • A detailed description of all components of the proposal (ie. buildings and works, change of land use or activities on your land, vegetation removal, etc)

For proposed vegetation removal, this written submission must include

  • the number and size of any trees to be removed and/or pruned
  • the reason for seeking the removal and/or pruning of the vegetation
  • a demonstration of the steps that have been taken to
    • avoid the removal of native vegetation, where possible
    • minimise the removal of native vegetation
    • appropriately offset the loss of native vegetation, if required
  • Three copies of a scaled and fully dimensioned Existing Conditions Plan, showing (as a minimum)
    • the location of all existing buildings, structures, earthworks, dams and vegetation
    • internal building layout for existing buildings and structures
    • the location and layout of driveways and car parking areas
    • contours/site levels
    • the location of the effluent disposal system (for non-sewered properties)
  • Three copies of a scaled and fully dimensioned Site Plan, showing (as a minimum)
    • the location of existing buildings on adjacent properties (including nominated setbacks from the common boundaries to the subject site)
    • the location of existing and proposed buildings
    • any existing or proposed earthworks
    • location of existing individual trees within 10 metres of all proposed buildings, structures and excavations
    • all trees to be removed and those to be retained
    • the setback of the buildings and works from title boundaries
    • details and location of any car parking structures, areas and accessways
    • details for the retention of stormwater on site
    • the proposed location of all reticulated services and method of installation (note if to be excavated, it must be demonstrated that it avoids or minimises vegetation removal)
    • details of any lighting proposed

For applications affected by an ESO and/or Clause 52.17, the following must also be provided

  • location and details of vegetation type (ground, middle and upper storey vegetation) within 30 metres of the proposed development, which may require modification for fire management purposes
  • Three copies of scaled and fully dimensioned Floor and Elevation Plans, showing (as a minimum)
    • floor plans of the proposed buildings and structures (including nominated setbacks from boundaries and other key site features)
    • natural ground levels and finished floor levels
    • wall heights and overall building heights for each elevation
    • external colours, finishes and materials
  • One set of photo reduced A3 plans of all plans outlined above
  • A written submission detailing how the proposal responds to the provisions of the relevant zone, overlays, particular provisions and State and local planning policies (as appropriate)
  • Where possible, a CD containing a copy of all plans and associated reports in a PDF format

The application types listed below also require the following information:

  • Tree Removal
    • For applications requiring the removal of 0-10 trees, an Arborist Report must be submitted as outlined in the previous dot point. This report will then be used by Council to ascertain appropriate offset requirements for the native vegetation removal proposed
    • For applications requiring the removal of 10+ trees (and/or the removal of vegetation within significant patches of remnant vegetation – which may include understorey vegetation), a Flora and Fauna and Net Gain Assessment (in accordance with the State Government’s Native Vegetation Management Framework) prepared by a suitably qualified professional will be required to calculate appropriate offset planting requirements
    • Where there are existing trees on the subject site or trees on adjoining properties proximite to the proposed buildings, a report from a qualified arborist (an Arborist Report) must be obtained and submitted. This report should provide the following details
      • the species, height, girth, canopy width and approximate age of the tree/s to be removed
      • a statement regarding the health, structure and vigour of the tree/s
      • comments in relation to the future health of the tree
      • a recommendation based on all of the above
    • Photographs of native vegetation proposed to be removed, destroyed, pruned or lopped
    • Offset (Replacement) Planting Plan for any native vegetation proposed for removal. Refer to the information requirements below to calculate the appropriate offset planting on a plan. Indigenous species of plants should be selected from the Council publication Live Local Plant Local
    • Replacement Planting Plan for any trees being removed (if applicable), including the location of replacement planting and at a tree planting density specified in the particular character precinct under the Neighbourhood Character Policy which applies to the subject site. If no tree planting density is specified or the density is already exceeded, a tree replacement density of 3 trees to every 1 removed must be applied
  • New dwelling and/or dwelling addition that increases the number of bedrooms
    • Three copies of a Land Management Plan for the future use of the site. Refer to planning advice 14 for guidance and an information checklist for Land Management Plans
    • For residential applications on non-sewered lots, a Land Capability Assessment prepared by an appropriately qualified professional should be provided which demonstrates that the land is capable of treating and retaining all wastewater in accordance with the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria) under the Environment Protection Act 1970


The above checklist ensures that all documents are submitted to Council to initiate the assessment of the planning application. Additional information may be required depending on the precise nature of the proposal and any site-specific considerations. If applications are lodged without sufficient information for Council assessment, Council will formally request further information in accordance with the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Please check other Council planning advice web pages (and their attached checklists) for relevance to your proposal. If applicable, the information requirements outlined in that checklist should also be provided when lodging your application. Other Council planning advice pages which may also be relevant in this particular circumstance are planning advice 12 – Native Vegetation Protection and Removal.