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Before applying for a planning permit

Determine if you need a planning permit, and if so, ensure you have all your information ready to lodge an application.

Do I need a permit?

There are a number of different factors that determine whether or not you need a planning permit. These include, but are not limited to:

  • the types of works you want to do (renovations / a new house / two or more houses / a new cafe)
  • where the property is located (what zone it's in)
  • how big the property is
  • whether the property is in an area that may possibly flood (is it in a land subject to inundation overlay?)
  • whether your property is adjacent to a major road
  • whether your property is in an area where heritage controls apply
  • if you're wanting to run a business from home
  • if you want to subdivide land.

If you want to do some research, the VicPlan website is a great resource. It allows you to look up your property and find out how it fits into local planning requirements.

If you want information confirmed in writing, you can apply for written advice.

Doing my homework

When turning your ideas into reality consider the following:

  • Download a Planning Property Report to identify the planning requirements including the zone and any overlays
  • Look at the Ballarat Planning Scheme to confirm if you need a planning permit
  • Determine if your proposal is eligible for a fast-track process through VicSmart
  • View our checklists to confirm the information you might need to provide with an application 
  • Prepare initial plans for your proposal 
  • Discuss plans with your neighbours
  • Consider getting advice from a professional planning consultant. Note – Council cannot recommend a professional planning consultant.
  • Request a pre-application meeting with one of our planners
  • Call 5320 5640 if you have any questions

When preparing to lodge your application:

  • Order a copy of your title from Landata
  • Get your plans drawn up by a professional architect or draftsperson
  • Create electronic versions of your paperwork as we prefer electronic lodgement

I want to seek pre-application advice

Before submitting a planning permit application we recommend having a pre-application meeting with a Council Planning Officer.

The purpose of a planning permit pre-application meeting is to give you a chance to discuss your planning permit application with planning officers before you submit it.  

During the meeting, we’ll work with you to identify potential design issues and confirm any additional information we’ll need to process your application.

Call 5320 5640 to arrange a pre-application meeting with one of our planners. Please email your plans and any accompanying documents to at least 1 week before your scheduled meeting.

If you don't have this information yet, you can speak to a planning officer for advice by calling 5320 5640.


I want to seek written advice as to whether a planning permit is required

Request written advice when you need to clarify whether a planning permit is required for your project.

Before applying, you'll need to ensure you have the following information:

Apply for Written Advice


I want to request a copy of a planning permit or endorsed plans

To get copies of existing planning permits or endorsed plans, you'll need to apply. Before applying, you will need to have the following information:

  • Property address
  • Planning permit reference number
  • The cost is outlined in our fee schedule.

Request Copy of Planning Permit

Planning Fees

The cost of an application depends on what you're planning. The factors that influence your fee include:

  • the type of permit (planning, subdivision, covenant removal)
  • the cost of the development
  • in some cases, the type of property (single dwelling or multi-dwelling)

A full list of planning related fees can be found in our fee schedule.

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Planning permit process
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What is the process to obtain a planning permit?

Before you apply

Before preparing an application, ensure you have all the documentation required.

We offer pre-application meetingswritten advice, policies and strategies and checklists to ensure that you are better prepared before you lodge your application.

Application process

Lodge your application

  • Lodge your application online, pay the application fee and we will shortly confirm the contact details of the planner working with you on your application

We will review your application and provide feedback

Through an initial assessment of your application we may:

  • request further information
  • refer your application to another authority
  • suggest making changes to your application
  • indicate we don't support your application in its current form

We may advertise your application

If required, we’ll advertise your application for at least 14 days. This can include:

  • sending a letter to your neighbours
  • placing a sign at the front of your property
  • advertising your planning application online
  • receiving objections to your application
  • scheduling and attending a mediation meeting with objectors

We will make a decision about your application

We will make our decision based on:

  • considering all submissions that we receive through advertising
  • considering any referral comments from other authorities and departments of Council
  • assessing planning scheme provisions
  • preparing a report 

Making our decision

Depending on the type of application, a planning decision may be made:

Our decision may be one of the following:

  • approval of a planning permit or an amended permit
  • notice of decision to grant or amend a planning permit
  • notice of decision to refuse to grant a permit or an amendment to a permit

We will give a copy of the decision to the person who has applied for the planning permit and anyone who has provided a submission either supporting or objecting to the proposal.

We aim to process applications as quickly as possible. We aim to make a decision within 60 days of receiving your application. If we require further information, the 60 days starts from the date we receive that information. The more steps your application needs to go through, the longer the assessment will take.

After our decision

When does a permit begin?

A permit operates from:

  • the date it was issued
  • the date of VCAT’s decision if no date is specified and the permit was issued at the direction of VCAT (in this case it will need to be backdated to the Tribunal decision date); or
  • the date on which it was issued (where no date is specified).

A permit can expire in three ways:

  • if the permit is not acted upon; or
  • if the use is discontinued as set out in section 68 of the Act; or
  • if a permit condition provides that a use may only be conducted until a certain time or that works must be removed after a certain time.

You can also change your approved planning permit, including extending the expiry date. 


VCAT may review your application

VCAT will only review your application if:


Complying with conditions

After we’ve approved your planning permit, sometimes you need to submit further documentation to comply with your permit conditions.

After you submit your documents, we:

  • assess your documents
  • may seek views from other specialists
  • advise you of our decision

After we approve your planning permit, you may need to apply for more permits such as:

This is not an exhaustive list, so make sure that you check with Council and other regulatory services that you have all your approvals in place before you start.

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