Applying & Processing of Planning Permits


Before formally lodging a planning application with Council it is recommended that you first discuss your proposal with the Statutory Planning Unit. 

Four types of planning advice are available prior to lodging a planning application, depending on the nature, scale and complexity of the application:

  1. Telephone advice from a Statutory Planner – between the hours 8.15am and 5pm Mon to Fri. Call 5320 5107.

  2. Advice in person. Visit the Planning Counter Monday - Friday 12.15 - 4pm
    Call 5320 5107 to make an appointment.

  3. Pre-Application Meeting with a Statutory Planning Coordinator and relevant officers (see further detail below).

  4. Heritage-only Pre-Application Meeting with Council’s Heritage Advisor (see further detail below).

Pre-Application MeetingsTop of document.

Proposals Suitable for Pre-Application Meetings

Council encourages you to request a Pre-Application Meeting if you are proposing significant development of scale, such as:

  • Multi unit development of five or more dwellings or mixed residential/commercial development.
  • Significant subdivision proposals, i.e. ten or more lots. 
  • Development/subdivision where multiple overlays affect the site, such as Bushfire Management Overlay, Koala Overlay and Vegetation Protection Overlay. 
  • Commercial development that involve a significant car parking dispensation.
  • Excision of lots in the Farming Zone.
  • Significant signage proposals, such as major promotional signs.
  • Demolition of buildings in a Heritage Overlay.
  • A liquor licence associated with a proposed hotel, tavern or nightclub. 
  • Any liquor licence extending beyond 11pm. 

For more routine proposals discussion with Council’s duty officer at the Planning Counter is recommended.  Advice from the Planning Counter should be sought for:

  • Residential extensions and alterations
  • Two lot subdivisions
  • Industrial development
  • Alterations to commercial buildings
  • Advertising signs other than promotional signage

Objectives of Pre-Application Meetings

  • To provide advice as to whether a proposal is generally consistent with the Ballarat Planning Scheme.

  • To identify planning issues prior to the lodgement of applications.

  • To assist applicants in becoming fully aware of the expected standard and extent of information that is required to be provided with a permit application (e.g. traffic report, flora and fauna report, koala habitat report) to avoid the need for Council to request further information once an application is submitted.   

  • To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning permit process generally by providing accurate advice as early in the development process as possible. 

The meeting is led by a Statutory Planning Coordinator.  Other officers with particular areas of expertise will also attend the meeting if considered relevant, for example a Council Traffic Engineer.  

The meeting is for discussion and clarification purposes only and cannot pre-empt a final decision in respect to any subsequent planning application, which will be the subject of a detailed assessment in accordance with the Ballarat Planning Scheme.

Booking Pre-Application Meetings 

Pre-Application meetings are held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at Council’s Phoenix Building.  Telephone Statutory Planning on 5320 5640 and the booking can be made over the phone.  Details taken must include your name, contact telephone, contact email address, subject site address and a brief proposal description.

Submission of Plans Prior to the Pre-Application Meeting

A Pre-Application meeting can only be booked if you have concept plans of your proposal (if subdivision is proposed, a conceptual subdivision layout is required).  You must email your concept plans to prior to4pm on the Wednesday the week before the Tues/Thurs booking.  This lead in time provides Council opportunity to determine if officers from other units should attend and provides time to schedule additional officer attendance. It also allows officers to familiarise themselves with the site, its context, any planning history and the planning controls relating to the site.

If you do not have concept plans a discussion with a Statutory Planner over the phone or at the Planning Counter is recommended.  

Heritage-only Pre-Application Meeting

Council’s Heritage Advisor provides advice on developments that are proposed on sites in a Heritage Overlay.  The need for a site visit is determined by the Heritage Advisor during the initial meeting at Council’s Phoenix Building. Meetings are scheduled on Thursday mornings between 9am and 12pm.

Simply telephone Customer Service on 5320 5500 and the booking can be made over the phone.  Details taken must include your name, contact telephone, contact email address, subject site address and a brief proposal description.

Registering an applicationTop of document.

 When a planning application is received Council: 

  • registers the application and allocates a Permit number e.g. PLP/2012/123;
  • allocates the application to a Statutory Planner;
  • sends the applicant an acknowledgment  letter advising the application number and the name of the Statutory Planner dealing with the application.

Requesting Further Information

Council cannot consider a planning application if all required information is not provided.  Without all necessary information, a planning application will take longer to process.

If additional information is required, Council will send the applicant a letter called a Further Information Request.

A request for further information may also point out any concerns that Council has with the proposal. This will be the only chance to change the proposal and give you the best chance of getting a permit.

Deadline for Further information

Usually an applicant has 30 or 60 days (depending on the complexity of information required) from the date of the Further Information Request to give the required information to Council.  If an applicant needs more time, a written request to extend the time must be submitted to Council before the deadline.  The letter must include reasons why the information Council needs before the deadline cannot be provided and must outline a time or date that is believed reasonable to get the information to Council.

If Council supports a request it will confirm the approval in wiring and provide a new deadline date.

Going past the deadline for further information

If Council does not receive all of the information needed or receives a request in writing to extend the period, the application will lapse. This means the application process is finished. If you still want a planning permit, you must submit a new application and pay the fee again. 

Avoid a request for further information

Have a pre application and avoid a request for further information. At a pre-application meeting, find out what extra information you may need to submit with your planning permit application.

Notifying Neighbours

Some planning applications are notified to neighbouring residents, commonly referred to as public advertising.   Council advertises a planning application if the proposal is considered by Council to potentially affect people, known as ‘material detriment’.

Some applications are exempt and are not advertised due to their minor nature.

Council advertises an application by:

  • Sending letters to neighbouring property owners and occupiers, and 
  • Erecting a yellow public notice on the site of the application, and 
  • If needed, placing a notice in the local newspaper, e.g. Ballarat Courier.

Council writes to you if your application needs to be advertised. If advertising is required, Council will undertake this process.    All fees associated with advertising must be paid by the applicant.

The advertising period is 14 days.  December and January have extended advertising times because of Christmas and New Year holidays.  An application cannot be processed until the advertising period has finished.

What happens after advertising?

If Council receives objections during advertising, a mediation meeting must be held.   

If Council receives objections after the advertising period has ended but before Council makes a decision, Council still considers the objections.

If Council receives no objections, Council makes the decision.

Council decisionTop of document.

Council makes three kinds of decisions on a planning application. Council issues:

  1. a Planning Permit
  2. a Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit, or 
  3. a Refusal to Grant a Planning Permit

A Planning Permit  

Council issues a planning permit when Council supports the application, and when:

  • the application has no objections, or
  • Council has issued a Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit and there were no Applications for Review have been lodged with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), or 
  • VCAT directs Council to issue a planning permit.

Permit Conditions

The conditions could be extra things to do before you start building or using the land. Sometimes, the first condition on the permit says to give Council amended plans to approve before you can start work. The last condition of a planning permit is normally a time limit  – you must start the work and finish it within this time.

An applicant for a planning permit can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review any of the conditions on the permit.

The back of the planning permit tells you how to apply for a review.

A Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit

Council issues a Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit if Council supports the application and there are objections to the application.  A Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit is not a planning permit. 

It is a legal notice that says that Council supports the application if the use or development meets a list of conditions. The Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit sets out the conditions. 

Council sends a copy of the Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit to the permit applicant and all objectors to the application.

An objector has 21 days to apply to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review the decision. 

If an objector lodges an Application for Review, VCAT will let the permit applicant and Council know that the Application for Review has been made. 

If no objectors apply to review the decision then VCAT tells Council when a planning permit can be issued. 

An applicant has 60 days to apply to review any of the conditions included in the planning permit. The applicant must notify the Council and all objectors if they apply to VCAT to review any of the conditions of the planning permit.

A Refusal to Grant a Planning Permit

Council issues a Refusal To Grant a Planning if Council does not support the proposal. The Refusal Notice includes Council’s reasons for not issuing the permit.  Council also sends a copy of the Refusal to Grant a Planning Permit to all objectors to the planning permit application.

An applicant has 60 days to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review the decision. The back of the Refusal Notice advises the applicant how to apply for a review. The applicant must notify Council and all objectors if they have made an application for a review of the Council’s decision.