What is a planning application?

A planning application is made to Council seeking approval for a proposed development.

Planning application process

On average, the Borough of Queenscliffe issues around 150 planning permits per year, with the bulk of these related to single dwelling developments or alterations and extensions to single dwellings.

Councils Town Planning Team is responsible for applying the planning policy and guidelines contained within the Queenscliffe Planning Scheme to all new developments in Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale that require a planning permit.

If you wish to make changes to buildings on your property, it is likely that you will need a planning permit. Working out whether a planning permit is required or not can be complicated, as permit requirements are dependant on the zoning and overlay requirements that apply to the property.

Check out the Do I need a planning permit? page or contact Councils Town Planning Team on 03 5258 1377 for advice.

The planning permit process

The planning permit system ensures that development in the municipality is managed effectively, is suitable for its surroundings, and considers possible environmental and heritage impacts and the impact on surrounding properties.

Planning permit applications are assessed against the Queenscliffe Planning Scheme. In most cases the assessment process provides an opportunity for the community to have a say on an application before a decision is made. An appeal can be made against a decision where parties are unhappy with the outcome.

The planning application and assessment process is set by the Victorian Government and involves a number of different stages. These are nominated in the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic).The amount of time it takes to assess an application depends on the size and complexity of the application, whether or not it attracts any objections and how the decision is made (i.e. under officer delegation or by Council at a formal Council meeting).

Council is mindful that planning permit applicants are often under time and financial pressures, so it seeks to process all applications as efficiently as possible. Generally it takes around eight to10 weeks for a decision to be made on a planning permit.

For an overview of the planning permit process see: A Guide to the Planning System

How long does it take?

The amount of time it takes to assess an application depends on the size and complexity of the application, whether or not it attracts any objections, and how the decision is made (i.e. under officer delegation or by Council at a formal Council meeting).

Generally it takes around eight to 10 weeks for a decision to be made on a planning permit. If you are concerned about the time it will take, ask the officers for an estimate time frame.

To make sure that your application is processed as quickly as possible:

  • Speak to a Council planner before lodging your application.
  • Speak to your neighbours in advance about your proposal.
  • Ensure all the necessary information is included in your application when it is initially lodged.

Lodging a planning permit application

Most people, at some stage, will want to make some changes to their home or property and may need to lodge a planning permit application with Council. It is important that you find out exactly what planning controls apply to your property before you begin. This information can be obtained:

  • From the Queenscliffe Planning Scheme.
  • By obtaining a "Planning Property Report" from Planning Maps Online.
  • In person at Council offices.
  • By obtaining a planning certificate, which can be issued by Council at a cost.

Preparing your application

You may seek professional advice to prepare your planning permit application or do it yourself using our planning tool How to complete a planning application.

Your application will consist of:

  1. A completed Application for a Planning Permit Form.
  2. Payment of the required fee.
  3. A current Certificate of Title.

If you do not have a current Certificate of Title, you can obtain one from the Land Information Centre, Level 10, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC.

There are also a number of specific requirements for each type of permit application. Please refer to the checklists on the forms and guidelines page for details. To ensure that your application is processed quickly and efficiently, it is essential that the information specified on the checklists is provided with your application.

Applications can be submitted in person or by post with accompanying payment.

Initial assessment

Our planning officers will check the application form to ensure it has been completed correctly and that all the required accompanying information has been included.

If more information is needed, Council will contact you detailing what further information is required to be submitted.

The application may also be referred to other internal departments, such as engineering or heritage advisers or external agencies such as Barwon Water or VicRoads.

Public notification of an application and lodging an objection

When a planning permit application is lodged, Council officers will determine whether public notification is required.

Where there is possible material detriment, a planning permit application is always advertised. Depending on the size and possible impacts of the application, this could take the form of:

  • Direct mail notification to surrounding neighbours via registered mail.
  • Signage erected at the front of the site, which is maintained for 14 days.
  • Advertisement in the local Echo newspaper.
  • A Website listing.
  • A sign on the noticeboard at the Council office.

If public notification is required, it must be carried out for a period of at least 14 consecutive days. During this time, any person can make a submission either supporting or objecting to the proposed permit. Councils guide to public notification provides information on this process.

The Victorian planning system is set up to ensure that you have the opportunity to comment on a planning permit that may affect you before a decision is made. Anyone can lodge an objection to a planning permit application, and Council must consider all objections when assessing the application.

Objections can be lodged with Council any time up to when a decision is made however, objections are usually lodged during the 14-day period during which the application is advertised. Once you have lodged an objection, Council is required to advise you of any decision made on the application. You will also be advised of any relevant meetings held to consider the application.

To lodge an objection you need to either:

  • Complete a Planning Permit Objection form, or
  • Write a letter or email, that includes your name and contact details (including address), the planning application number, address of the property in question, and a statement of how the proposal will affect you.

You can lodge your written objection by post or email or in person to:

The Bourough of Queenscliffe, 50 Learmonth Street (PO Box 93), Queenscliffe, VIC, 3225 or E info@queenscliffe.vic.gov.au  

Application assessment and report

Any objections will be considered as part of the assessment process and discussed with the objectors and the applicant.

Council officers will then prepare a report and make a recommendation for the General Manager or councillors to make the final decision.

Approval

If there are no objections, the permit can be issued straight away.

Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit

If Council decides to approve an application that has received objections. Council must issue a Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit. All objectors will be sent this notice and will have 21 days to lodge an application for review at Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), if they wish.

If no objectors lodge a review with VCAT within the 21-day period, the permit will be granted. Similarly, if the applicant is unhappy with any of the proposed permit conditions, they can also apply to VCAT to have the conditions reviewed.

Refusal to Grant a Permit

Council can refuse a permit even if there were no objections to it.

If a permit is refused, a Refusal to Grant a Permit notice will be issued that will detail the reasons for refusal. This will be sent to the applicant and all objectors to the application. If the applicant wishes to challenge the refusal, an appeal must be lodged at VCAT within 60 days of the refusal being issued.