Your Planning Permit Application
St-wise can step you through the planning permit application process for a better chance at approval in an optimum time frame.
Before official lodgement, it’s recommended to seek advice from Council planners in a pre-planning meeting, or a private town planner such as St-wise who can represent you on your behalf. This will determine whether or not the development is appropriate for the intended site, and what specifics need attention for the application to satisfy Council and government guidelines.
Once you have established the feasibility of the proposal, it is time to ready the paperwork. This generally involves:
- Architectural or drafting plans (drawings) of the proposal
- A copy of the Certificate of Title for the site and any relevant information regarding restrictions or covenants
- A planning report detailing the merits of the proposal and an assessment against Res Code
- A completed town planning application form
- Putting the application in the name of the property owner or developer, not the architect or town planner; and
- Any other professional reports that may be useful or required to justify a use or development (e.g. traffic engineer’s report, landscape plan or in some instances a Cultural Heritage Management Plan).
Your paperwork will be lodged with Council with the required fee. This fee can vary significantly and depends on the nature of the proposal, the potential cost of the development and the Council in question.
Most often, lodgement is done over the counter at Council offices or lodged by post, with a cheque attached. However, it is becoming increasingly more common for Councils to prefer applications uploaded online, and/or submitted on a USB stick.
Council’s Assessment Steps
When you lodge your application, you’ll receive a file and a reference number and be allocated a planning officer. Usually, 2-3 weeks after submitting the application, an acknowledgment letter will be sent to the applicant or the representative detailing relevant information.
The officer will then do an initial assessment of the application. This is to:
- assess whether all the information needed by Council has been provided, and
- whether there are any serious issues concerning the application.
It is common that further information or suggested changes to the plans are required. You will receive a deadline for providing further information to support your submission.
When Council is confident it has all the necessary information, it will commence advertising your application. This notification will usually occur via letters sent to nearby property owners and occupiers, and by placing a sign on the site for a 14-day period. A notice may also be placed in the local newspaper.
Council will require proof at the end of the advertising period that the sign/s were up for the correct amount of time. All Council requirements will be clearly laid out in a letter that will accompany the advertising sign.
This notice invites feedback from neighbours and community members. There is always a fee for advertising and the cost will vary depending on the number of signs to be erected (e.g. two on a corner site) and the number of notices that need to be sent out. It is usually the role of Council to send out the written notices, but the role of the developer (or their representative) to place the sign/s on the site.
When necessary, Council may refer your application to other departments or authorities. For example, if an area is known for flooding, it may be referred to Melbourne Water. If the development involves access from a main road, it may be referred to VicRoads for comment.
If someone objects to your proposed application, they have the opportunity to submit a written objection. Someone wishing to object has 14 days from the time the notice of application is either erected on-site, or notification is received in the mail. A meeting may be called where the developer, and/or representative and the objector/s are brought to together see if a compromise can be reached.
The best way to avoid objections is to talk with surrounding neighbours beforehand about the proposed development and try to eliminate concerns prior to the proposal being advertised.
Council may determine to either:
- Issue a Permit (if there are no objections);
- Issue a Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit (if objections have been received, but Council considers that the proposal is acceptable); or
- Refuse to Grant a Permit
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
If an application for a Planning Permit has been refused or conditions have been placed on the permit which the Applicant does not agree with, the applicant may appeal to VCAT within 60 days of Council’s decision. Similarly, should any objectors to the application be dissatisfied with Council’s decision to grant a permit, appeals can be made to VCAT within 21 days of Council’s decision.
 See https://www.landata.vic.gov.au
 A state government design code setting standards for residential developments that require a permit