Character Preservation Districts

The Character Preservation (Barossa Valley) Act 2012 and the Character Preservation (McLaren Vale) Act 2012 became operational on 18 January 2013. The legislation provides that the special character of the two districts is recognised, protected and enhanced while providing for the economic, physical and social wellbeing of the communities within the districts.

About this instrument

The Character Preservation Acts (the CP Acts) precludes the creation of inappropriate residential development in the rural areas of the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale districts to halt urban sprawl to the north and south of Adelaide, thereby seeking to provide for continued viable farming and primary production activities. It also reinforces character values so that development does not detract from the special character of these two districts.

The special character of each district has been considered in terms of the five character values identified in the legislation:

  • the rural and natural landscape and visual amenity of the district
  • the heritage attributes of the district
  • the built form of the townships as they relate to the district
  • the viticultural, agricultural and associated industries of the district
  • the scenic and tourism attributes of the district.

The Barossa Valley district has an attractive and harmonious rural character that is distinct from metropolitan Adelaide. Its qualities include the historic pattern of settlement, the open countryside and a rich and diverse palette of fields, vines, orchards and settlements. Many towns have a unique village feel which blends into their rural setting. Visual amenity is derived from natural features such as the expansive rural views, the undeveloped backdrop of the Barossa Range and escarpment, remnant native vegetation, large River Red Gums, open space, rolling hills and watercourses.

The McLaren Vale district is physically diverse, and is interlinked with areas outside of the defined preservation district, such as the coastal region, townships and regions south of the area. Expansive views are an important feature of the character of the district. There are six townships in the character preservation district - Willunga, Port Willunga, Kangarilla, Clarendon, McLaren Flat and McLaren Vale – each with its own individual character, built form and development pattern. These townships provide important services and facilities for their surrounding regional communities and are linked by an existing road network plus cycling and walking trails.

The CP Acts require the Minister for Planning and Local Government to undertake a review within 5 years after commencement of the Acts.

In 2018, the Minister undertook a review of both Acts, with administrative assistance by the State Government Planning Department. A discussion paper (PDF, 2584 KB) was released with public consultation closing on 28 February 2018.

A total of 40 submissions (PDF, 18349 KB) were received during the 4-month consultation period from the local government sector, members of parliament, peak bodies, industry groups and individual community members.

The CPD Review Outcomes Report (PDF, 1481 KB) was tabled in Parliament on 19 June 2018.

As a result of the review and consultation process, four main recommendations were made:

  1. Retain the legislation for the protection for the character preservation districts.
  2. The State Planning Commission investigate the merit of the proposed amendments to the character preservation districts in the context of Greater Adelaide’s growth.
  3. Introduce a statutory review process that provides for amendments to the boundaries of the character preservation districts.
  4. Provide for greater consistency and clarity of policy within the character preservation districts in the Planning and Design Code.

Importantly, the Outcomes Report recommended that the State Planning Commission further investigate the merits of amending the character preservation districts for eight identified locations, in the context of Greater Adelaide’s growth.

The Minister subsequently requested that the Commission consider land supply and demand, infrastructure and other factors in its assessment of the eight locations identified in the CP Acts Review using the same process as the Environment and Food Production Areas (EFPA) Review required under Section 7 of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act).

Section 7(4) of the PDI Act establishes a clear legal relationship between the EFPA and the Character Preservation Districts (CPD). This relationship means any removal of land within a CPD (which can only occur via a Bill through both Houses of Parliament to amend the CP Acts) would automatically trigger the application of the EFPA over that land instead.

The Commission commenced its inaugural Review of the EFPA in April 2021. Given the Minister’s request, the scope of the Commission’s review of the EFPA also included a parallel assessment of the eight CPD locations.

In August 2021, the Commission recommended to the Minister that no changes be undertaken to the eight CPD locations, as the Commission had concluded in the EFPA Review that there is sufficient land supply within Greater Adelaide to accommodate housing and employment growth over the next 15 years.

These recommendation were published in the Commission’s EFPA Review Outcomes Report (PDF, 3737 KB) in December 2021.

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