• VCAT

December 8, 2022

What is required for an indoor recreation facility application?

Greater Melbourne is unique amongst Australian cities as it widely considered to be the sporting capital of the world. Melbourne also is home to people of many cultures and backgrounds to which sport offers the opportunity to create communities and provide societies with great benefit.

As a result, areas around Greater Melbourne and in some regional areas, approvals have been granted for uses conducive to sport, most prominently via indoor facilities that have been purpose built to cater not only for general gymnasiums, but for a host of other sport related activities.

Under the Planning Scheme, an Indoor Recreation Facility is defined as “a building used for indoor leisure, recreation or sport”.

Indoor recreation facilities are generally favoured by Councils and occupants as they allow existing buildings in many different areas across the State to be repurposed for a specific use, rather than having to develop an open oval, pitch or field.

This article will explore the planning permit requirements for indoor recreation facilities within Victoria to help inform our clients and stakeholders to better understand the approval process.

Site Acquisition:

As indoor recreation facilities are generally utilised by a number of local residents, it is important that the right site is acquired for this purpose. It is commonplace for smaller indoor gymnasiums to occupy commercial shop fronts within activity centres as well as factories within industrial areas, as these uses do not require an abundance of floor area and generally contain a smaller number of staff and patrons.

Larger indoor facilities such as aquatic centres, indoor football, indoor basketball, and indoor tennis facilities (to name a few), may require larger buildings on larger lots. These lots are strategically placed within proximity of local residents, but also far enough away to ensure the amenity of surrounding land uses is protected.

It is important to find a site that is appropriate for the use that is to be applied for, and a town planner can assist in determining the correct site for your proposal. We recommend that a town planner be involved at the site acquisition stage, as some sites may contain restrictions and nuances that may cause issues and expenses down the line. We recommend that sites in the following zones be acquired:

  • Mixed Use Zone
  • Commercial 1 Zone
  • Industrial 1 Zone
  • Activity Centre Zone

Preparing for a Town Planning Application:

In almost every circumstance, an indoor recreation facility is recognised as a Section 2 Use under the zone, which means that the use requires a planning permit to lawfully operate.

In order to prepare for a town planning application, it is recommended that a town planner be engaged if not already done so. The town planner will instruct you on what items will be required to be submitted to Council based on the individual context of the proposal.

The general requirements for a town planning application for this use are:

  • A full set of application plans.
  • A technical planning assessment.
  • A full copy of title.
  • A completed application form.

The latter three items are prepared and obtained by your town planner, however an architect or draftsman would need to be engaged to prepare a set of town planning drawings. Town planning drawings would need to include a site survey, an existing condition plan and a proposed floor plan.

If signage is proposed as part of the use, then a signage plan would also need to be prepared.

The above is reflective of the minimum requirements for a town planning application, but it is often the case where more documents are required for uses on sites that are located nearby to other land uses. Other items that may be required are:

  • Traffic impact assessment / car parking demand assessment.
  • Waste management plan.
  • Acoustic impact assessment.
  • Venue management plan.

These documents do not necessarily need to be prepared prior to lodgement, but they may be required as the application progresses. It is important that your town planner identifies what additional documentation may be required to proactively prepare – saving time, stress and money.

We at CS Town Planning have demonstrated experience of obtaining planning permits for a wide range of indoor recreation facilities from local gymnasiums to larger sports facilities. As part of our expertise, we provide reputable and reliable advice to our clients and stakeholders in order to ensure certainty for use outcomes. Contact us at www.cstownplanning.com.au to speak with one of our experts if you are seeking guidance on your next project.