What is a planning permit and when do I need one?
A planning permit is a legal document that gives permission to use or develop a particular piece of land. To obtain a planning permit, an application must be made to the Mitchell Shire Council. Planning officers will then assess the application against the relevant policies and guidelines within the Mitchell Planning Scheme and will make a recommendation whether or not to issue a planning permit.
A planning permit usually contains a series of conditions that regulate how the land can be used or developed and is always subject to a time limit setting out when the planning permit expires.
A planning permit is also accompanied by endorsed plans that show what is to be built and how the land can be used. The proposed use or development must satisfy all the conditions on a planning permit and comply with the endorsed plans. This means the use or the buildings and works must be undertaken as shown on the endorsed plans.
If you need to make changes to a planning permit you will likely need to apply to Council to amend the planning permit. Council can sometimes assess minor changes to the plans without the need to apply for a new permit, however an amended planning permit application will be required if Mitchell Shire Council doesn’t consider the changes to be minor.
It is important not to confuse planning permits with building permits. Building permits relate to the method of construction of a building or development. If you have a planning permit you may still need to obtain a building permit.
Planning: A Short Guide, published by the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI), provides more detailed information about the planning permit process.
If you are unsure if a proposed use or development requires a planning permit, want to know what limitations may apply to a piece of land, or want more information on the planning permit process, please contact the Statutory Planning Department.
How long does the application process take?
We are mindful that planning permit applicants are often under time and financial pressures, and seek to process all applications as efficiently as possible. However, there are statutory processes that must be followed when assessing an application. It is important that applicants have a good understanding of the process and the potential time that it can take to reach a decision.
State Government regulations set out that applicants can refer their application to VCAT if we fail to make a decision within 60 days of receiving it. If you are asked to provide further information, it is 60 days from the date all the relevant information is received and any advertising requirements are met.
Realistically, depending on the size and detail of the proposal, it can take anywhere from four weeks for small applications, and much longer for large-scale applications. The more steps needed to pass through the assessment process, the longer a decision is likely to take. The following is an outline of the typically timeframes for each step in the process:
Planning Permit Process
We check the application to see if it has all the relevant information, if everything has been filled in correctly or if there is anything missing
4 weeks (but usually less)
We ask the applicant for further information if needed and then wait for the applicant to respond
4-5 weeks (applicants sometimes request more time)
We send application off to external referral authorities for their assessment and wait for them to respond
We advertise the application for the required two weeks (public notification period) to get community feedback
2-3 weeks (including issuing a direction to advertise)
We get objections and undertake consultation with different parties.
We assess the application in accordance with planning requirements and prepare a report with a recommendation and wait for a decision. If the decision must be made at Council, then the timeframe is at the higher end as meetings only occur once a month.
If the applicant or community is not happy with the decision and appeals to VCAT
These timeframes are only indicative and not all of the steps are required for every application. It is best to contact a planner to discuss how long the process is likely to take for your proposal.
Some applications can be fast tracked through the VicSmart process
The State Government has introduced VicSmart, a 10-day permit application process for straightforward planning applications. Where an application qualifies as VicSmart, Council will typically make a decision within 10 business days. If you are asked to provide further information, it is 10 business days from the date all the relevant information is received. VicSmart applications are exempt from advertising to the public, and the information applicants are required to submit is predetermined.
For an application to be considered under the VicSmart process, it must meet certain criteria which is set out on our VicSmart page. This page also includes checklists for all of the eligible application types.
Planning permit applications under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and certification applications under the Subdivision Act 1988 are processed and assessed by the Statutory Planning unit at Mitchell Shire Council.
You may need the approval of Mitchell Shire Council before land and/or buildings can be subdivided or consolidated. Approval is also needed in certain situations to create or remove easements (an easement being a right held by a person to use another's land for particular purposes, such as access and drainage).
Subdivision is complicated and has certain legal requirements. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that a land surveyor is engaged to oversee the application process, whose professional skills enable them to manage the complex nature of subdivision in the Shire.
Typically and simplistically the subdivision process through the Mitchell Shire Council involves:
- Planning Permit: The granting of a planning permit allowing subdivision. If issued, this will set the general parameters and conditions for final approval of the subdivision.
- Certification: An approval by Mitchell Shire Council of a formal plan of subdivision that has been prepared by a licensed surveyor, as required under the Subdivision Act 1988. That plan has to be certified/signed by the Mitchell Shire Council and has to be compliant with the planning permit and contain any requirements of particular servicing authorities. Completion of this stage allows any subdivision works to commence that have not already been completed as part of a development permit, including roads, footpaths and drainage to name a few.
- Statement of Compliance: The issue of a statement of compliance for the subdivision as required under the Subdivision Act 1988. This shows evidence of compliance with all public work requirements of the permit, which primarily are those of the servicing authorities. This ends Mitchell Shire Council’s role in the process.
Significant benefits are achieved for all parties if applications are lodged and managed under Streamlined Planning through Electronic Applications and Referrals (SPEAR). Visit the SPEAR website for more details. You can find SPEAR-accredited land surveying firms listed on this site. You may also be able to find surveying consultancies in the Yellow Pages (under 'Surveyors').
Many issues have to be addressed and managed within the subdivision process to ensure responsible title arrangements are created. In addition to the provision of prescribed fees, forms, documentation and so forth, and dependent on the nature of a subdivision, these may include or involve:
- Payment of a public open space contribution to the Mitchell Shire Council;
- Building surveying input;
- Provision of servicing and infrastructure information;
- Subdivision overlays on architectural plans;
- Clause 56 ('Rescode') information;
- Affects on the Council’s roads assets;
- Owners and owners corporation consents;
- Addressing of lots and road naming;
- Legal agreements; or
- Public road, drainage and service works.
For more detailed information on making a subdivision application please contact the Statutory Planning Department.
Planning Compliance / Enforcement
The Mitchell Shire Council investigates identified breaches of the Mitchell Planning Scheme., Section 173 Agreements, Planning Permits and associated endorsed documents. This includes the investigation of allegations regarding the inappropriate use and development of land.
Use and development compliance issues may include, but are not limited to:
- Building works conducted without a planning permit where one is required. This may include external changes to a property (such as a house extension, demolition, construction of a rural shed, etc.) carried out without the required approval.
- Building works that are inconsistent with the approved planning permit or endorsed plans. For example alterations and changes to the height of a development or changes to materials and finishes where specified.
- Illegal use of a property or use inconsistent with planning permit conditions. For example, where an illegal industry is operating, or if conditions specifying hours that a business can operate are breached.
- Changes to the use of land without planning approval, where such approval is required.
- Works carried out to a heritage building covered by a Heritage Overlay without prior planning approval.
- Removal of certain types of vegetation.
Options available to Council
Wherever possible Council officers seek compliance in a conciliatory manner. However in circumstances where negotiation fails or is considered inappropriate, the Planning and Environment Act 1987 provides for other enforcement options.
These options include:
- The issue of an official warning.
- The issue of a Planning Infringement Notice (PIN) imposing a substantial fine.
- An application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for the cancellation or amendment of a planning permit.
- An application to the VCAT for an enforcement order.
- Prosecution in the Magistrates' Court.
To report or enquire about a planning compliance related matter, please contact the Statutory Planning Department.
Forms, fees and checklists
Below are the forms you need to apply for a new planning permit, a Section 72 amendment, an amendment under Secondary Consent, an Extension of Time, or if you wish to change a proposal after an application has been lodged with Council. It is required that an application be accompanied by the appropriate signed form.
Planning Permit Application Form (PDF, 312K)
Section 72 Amendment Form (PDF, 1.88MB)
Amendment under Secondary Consent Form (PDF, 67K)
Extension of Time Form (PDF, 73K)
Request to Amend a Current Planning Application Form (PDF, 110K)
There is no form if you are submitting condition plans (plans required by conditions of a planning permit) however a cover letter is required. The cover letter must include the permit number, the address of the land and the conditions the plans are addressing.
Planning Application Fees
An application fee is a statutory requirement for many types of applications. The current fee schedule provides details of all the relevant planning fees.
Current Fee Schedule (PDF, 175K)
If you wish to lodge an objection to a planning permit it must be made in writing, include details of the application it relates, your postal address and at least one contact number. We would also appreciate if you could include an email address. To assist you, you may wish to use the objection form provided.
Objection Form (PDF, 94k)
Planning checklists and factsheets
The checklists and factsheets are provided as a guide to the types of information that need to be provided for certain applications and to provide information about the planning permit process. The checklists provide prescriptive requirements only and additional information may be required depending on the particulars of the application. You should contact the Statutory Planning unit to confirm what information is required to be submitted prior to lodging the application.
Bushfire Planning Provisions Fact Sheet (PDF, 487K)
Bushfire Integrated Planning and Building Framework - Useful links and Contact details (PDF, 162K)
Bushfire replacement buildings - consent to rebuild following the 2009 Black Saturday fires (PDF, 174K)
Dependent Person's Unit Information Sheet (PDF, 317K)
Dwellings on Small Lots in the Farming Zone Information Sheet (PDF, 630K)
Planning Permit Checklist Advertising Signage (PDF, 112K)
Planning Permit Checklist Multiple Dwellings (PDF, 117K)
Planning Permit Checklist Change of Use (PDF, 115K)
Planning Permit Checklist Dams (PDF, 132K)
Planning Permit Checklist Minor Buildings and Works (PDF, 35K)
Planning Permit Checklist Reducing or Waiving Car Parking Requirements (PDF, 113K)
Requesting Planning Information
Request for Planning Information (PDF, 110K)
Reviews at Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
There are many circumstances when a review can be lodged at VCAT. This typically occurs once the Mitchell Shire Council has made a decision on a planning application.
If your planning permit has been refused or contains conditions which you don’t agree with, you have 60 days from the date of issue of the decision to lodge an appeal to VCAT.
People who objected to a planning permit which has since had a Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit issued can also lodge an appeal to VCAT. These applications must be lodged within 21 days of the signing of the Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit.
For further information about the appeal process, contact the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Mitchell Planning Scheme
The Mitchell Shire Council controls land use and development within the Shire. It contains state and local planning policies, zones and overlays and other provisions that affect how land can be used and developed.
The planning scheme determines if a planning permit is required to change the use of land or to construct a building or make other changes to the land or to remove vegetation (among other things) and specifies relevant assessment criteria when a planning permit is required.
View the Mitchell Planning Scheme.
How do I find out which planning scheme controls apply to my property?
Every property has a set of planning controls which specify when a planning permit is required. Different controls apply to different properties, so it is important to find out which controls affect your property before you use or develop land.
To find out what controls apply to your property you can:
Other Mitchell Shire Council departments
We are located at 4A & 4B 61 High Street Wallan. (Upstairs offices can be found above the Salvation Army and La Torre Family Bistro.)
Drop in for an informal meeting with a Planner at the Wallan Planning and Building Services office between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm Monday to Friday.
Appointments are available at other locations, please contact the Statutory Planning Department.
Contact the Statutory Planning Department by telephone on 03 5734 6200 or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org