• VCAT

November 22, 2022

Is a planning permit required?

Many in the development industry would know that planning permits are required for a large number of projects, however, unbeknownst to many is the level of detail required to ensure the permit can be approved in a secure and timely process. Depending on the location and characteristics of a site, any number of planning controls could require a permit to be granted for a specific use or development to occur. As a leading expert in obtaining permits for our clients, we take you through this short article to provide insight into the initial process involved.

How to check if a Planning Permit is required?

To check whether a planning permit is required for your proposal, you will need to refer to the Planning Scheme of your local municipality. The site chosen for use or development will be contained within a nominated zone, and sometimes within an overlay(s). The Zone and Overlay will contain information on whether specific uses or developments require planning permit approval. To find out what controls apply to your land, you can find a planning property report function at this link.

For instance, if you own a site in Brunswick (VIC) that is zoned ‘Industrial 1 Zone’ and subject to a ‘Design and Development Overlay’, and you are seeking to construct a warehouse for a gymnasium use, the relevant permit triggers can be found at the respective clauses of the Merri-bek (formerly Moreland) Planning Scheme.

Pursuant to Clause 33.01 – Industrial 1 Zone of the Planning Scheme, a permit is required to use the site for an indoor recreation facility (gymnasium) and to construct a warehouse. Similarly, a permit is required pursuant to Clause 43.02 – Design and Development Overlay to construct a warehouse.

Furthermore, a permit may be required for any associated business identification signs, with permit triggers and information located at Clause 52.05 of the Planning Scheme. Similarly, permits may also need to be granted for dispensation of car and bicycle parking requirements, along with other matters associated with the use and/or development. Each individual Planning Scheme can be found here.

Whilst your development may only result in one outcome, five separate planning permit triggers have already been identified and will form part of Council’s assessment. It is the role of your consultant to identify these triggers early on so that the planning application process is managed in an efficient and timely manner.

How long does a Planning Permit application take for approval?

The short answer to this question is – much longer than you would anticipate. Unfortunately, most of the time throughout the planning application process is time spent waiting. Aside from the most basic of planning permit applications, applications are generally referred to and examined by a number of people before approval can be granted. Furthermore, with the high staff turnover and ongoing resourcing issues, Council’s are having a hard time processing applications in a timely manner.

From our experience in managing hundreds of planning applications across Victoria, the following indicative timeframes have been identified:

  • Simple Applications such as amendments, minor additions, or basic change of use: 3-4 months
  • Use/development, low scale residential, industrial, and commercial buildings: 4-6 months
  • Medium/high scale residential, complex commercial projects, regional development/subdivision: >6 months.

What information is required for a Planning Permit application?

The material required to lodge a planning application also varies in line with the type of proposal. All applications will require a covering letter, a completed permit application form (obtained from Council’s website), a copy of title (less than 100 days old), application plans describing the proposal and some kind of written statement outlining the proposal.

Other information that may be required is:

  • A Clause 54/55 Assessment for the construction of one or more dwellings.
  • A Clause 56 Assessment for any residential subdivision.
  • A Clause 58 Assessment for any apartment development.
  • A traffic report for any proposal where car parking or vehicle congestion is likely to affect the outcome.
  • An arborists report for any proposal where tree removal is likely to affect the outcome.
  • A waste management plan for uses that would add to the standard waste conditions.
  • Environmental reports that assess a proposal’s environmental capabilities.
  • An acoustic assessment where uses may cause amenity loss to surrounding places.

Greenfield developments and other large scale land projects will also require a package of reports including but not limited to; Cultural Heritage Management Plans, Bushfire Reports, Ecological Reports, Soil Reports and various other assessments.

Are subconsultants required?

Where a development or use proposal may result in issues pertaining to car parking, amenity loss or similar, the need for subconsultants to prepare supporting documentation is paramount. Your planning consultant should be able to identify what documents need to be prepared prior to lodgement.

Preparing documents early is key to ensuring that any potential causes for concern are dealt with in the initial stages of a planning application to mitigate time loss and reach a decision proactively. It is important that your planning consultant can provide you with a network of professionals to engage where required to obtain any necessary documents.

We at CS Town Planning have demonstrated experience of obtaining planning permits for a wide range of clients, having served local homeowners to Tier 1 developers across the nation. As part of our expertise, we provide written advice on whether a permit is required. Our advice is reputable and reliable, and we take pride in providing certainty to our clients.

Our experts prepare preliminary advice about planning permit requirements for a wide range of land use and development proposals on a daily basis. This advice means clients avoid delays in obtaining planning approval. If your project would benefit from a quicker approval, please contact us today for a confidential discussion.