Frequently asked questions

What is a town planning application?

Town planning permit applications are made for the use or development of land within Victoria. Examples include multi-unit developments, heritage works, industrial buildings, or change of uses. Town planning permits can also be for minor works such as fencing and pergolas, depending on your local Council’s planning controls. Town Planning Group can help you in preparing a town planning application or respond to an application on your behalf through an objection.

What is the purpose of a public notice?

A public notice is issued to any person/s that may be affected by a proposed use or development of a property. A public notice is often erected on the subject site for a 14 day period. The notice provides information on the proposal and details where the plans and relevant documentation can be viewed. 

Is there an opportunity to discuss the application with Council?

Yes, persons wanting to discuss the application can visit or telephone their Local Council. A planner is available during office hours. Planners must act impartially as an assessor of an application.

What is the process for objecting?

Any person/s that may be affected by a proposal can lodge an objection with Council. Town Planning Group can provide assistance in the preparation of objections or respond to objections on your behalf.

What kind of issues can a person object to?

Council can consider any objection that is based on a legitimate planning issue (moral issues, commercial competition, devaluation etc, can not be considered).  

When should an objection be lodged?

Council can consider any objection received up until a decision is made. It is recommended that objections be lodged prior to the date indicated on the bottom of the “Notice of Application” in order for all comments to be given sufficient consideration.  

What happens after an objection is lodged?

Council will consider all objections received and determine if there is any merit to the objections. They will then undertake a final review of the application against the planning scheme and relevant legislation prior to making a decision on the application. Council will then notify all parties of the decision.

If a refusal is given, a “Refusal to Grant a Permit” is issued. If a decision is made to approve the application a “Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit” will be issued.

Occasionally before decisions are made, Council’s may wish to convene a meeting of relevant parties to discuss the concerns. They will then decide on the application after this meeting. 

Does Council have the final say?

If an applicant or objector does not agree with Council’s decision, an application for review (appeal) can be lodged with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). Objectors have 21 days after the “Notice of Decision” is issued to lodge an application for review. The applicant has 60 days from the date of Council’s decision to appeal a refusal or any conditions issued by Council. Town Planning Group can assist in the preparation and representation at VCAT.

What is a planning scheme amendment?

Planning scheme amendments are changes to the planning scheme of local councils within Victoria. They can be changes to policy wording or zoning, for example, from an industrial zone to a residential zone. Town Planning Group can assist you in preparing the necessary documents to make a scheme change or respond to a proponent’s amendment request.