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Town Planning in Victoria: What You Need to Know Before Applying for a Permit

In Australia, the seasonally adjusted estimate for the total number of dwellings approved fell by 8.6%, with the highest fall in dwellings approval occurring in Victoria. Building permits have increased in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia so what exactly is affecting the success rate of town planning applications in Victoria?

The key to a successful planning application comes with preparation and support from the professionals. Understanding what is required before submitting a building permit is the first step to increasing your chances of a successful building project.

Why do you need a planning permit?

Local planning schemes need a planning permit in order to regulate use and development of land to ensure it is in line with the required State Government regulations. The remit of a planning permit is to make sure that places listed as heritage sites or of heritage significance do not get demolished or altered detrimentally.

A planning permit also ensures that buildings and land use are not in conflict with each other, and land uses are appropriately located. Any development that is planned would not affect the environment in a negative way either, so a planning permit is a key part of a town planning application.

Seek professional advice

It will save you time, effort and money in the long run if you speak to professionals who have experience of the planning process and understanding of what the local Councils will or will not allow. Depending on what your dream property is, you need an objective pair of eyes to look over the plans in case you have to make reasonable adjustments, so it meets the Council expectations for land development.

Town planning consultants understand the local area, the development requirements and different zones as well as have an in-depth knowledge of the planning application process to steer you in the right direction. They will also identify who else you need to speak to or what documentation you need to supply prior to submitting your application for a building permit. They can also help by anticipating any particular objections to your plans and contest objections if required in VCAT. They will have built up a number of useful contacts over the years as well to help make the whole process run smoothly.

Speak to the council planning department

You should also make an appointment to go and speak to a planning officer at the local Council. One of the first things to check out is whether or not you need to submit an application if it is a renovation project, for example. The planning officer will be able to clarify if what you are proposing to do is prohibited (e.g., if you are proposing a development in a heritage area, there will be additional rules in place).

They can also tell you what additional information you need to supply with your permit application and outline the steps of the application process.

Speak to your neighbours

They will be notified of any planning applications that could affect them and will have their chance to object to any such plans, so it is always best to speak to them beforehand. If you are able to show what the finished dwelling will look like so that they can raise concerns with you, then you may be able to do something about it beforehand. It is not always possible, and you are not going to please all of the people all of the time but the majority will appreciate being consulted.

Prepare the documentation

This is where your town planner in Melbourne can help ensure that you have everything ready prior to submitting the application. Every Council’s requirements are different and the type of information they require differs. Ensure that you know what is needed to go with your application in the way of site plans, any written report or elevation drawings. You need to know how it will be assessed and this very much depends on whether it is a residential development or involves native vegetation or subdivision.

Pre-application meetings

Check if these are available as this is a really useful point of information and contact so that you get the opportunity to talk about the details of the application. Your planning professional can not only assist you with helping to lodge the application but also with the pre-meet. In the long run, these forms of meetings will ensure you know what has to be lodged and reduce the risk of an unsuccessful application as well as any possible delays or expenses.

Make sure you seek professional advice before submitting your application and increase your chances of success when it comes to developing your property build.

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