Planning application and process

For an overview of the planning system in Victoria and the planning permit process, refer to the following publications by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

Planning in Victoria - A guide to the planning system

Planning Permits process


Planning permit

Step 1.Pre-application meeting

Council offers a dedicated pre-lodgement service to provide valuable pre-application advice. The service enables planning applicants to:

  • discuss their proposal in detail
  • gain advice
  • make changes to their application prior to submission, in line with council’s requirements.

Step 2.Complete the application form

Please note that this application is for all non-business applications.  If you need assistance with starting, running or growing your business, please visit our Business Enabling webpage.

 Planning permit application

Supporting information and documents

Please see tabs below for more details about supporting information and documents required.


VicSmart - a simpler planning permit process 

VicSmart is a streamlined assessment process for straightforward planning permit applications. Classes of application are identified in the planning scheme as being VicSmart, and have specified requirements for information, assessment processes and decision guidelines.

Some of the key features of VicSmart:

  • There is a 10 day permit process
  • Applications are not advertised
  • Information to be submitted with an application, and what council can consider, is pre-set
  • The Chief Executive Officer of the council or delegate decides the application.
Examples include (but are not limited to, and must meet set criteria):
  • A single storey extension to a single dwelling where specific design criteria are met
  • Buildings and works up to $100,000 in residential zones, where not associated with a dwelling
  • Building and works up to $500,000 in commercial and some special purpose areas
  • A range of low impact developments in rural areas (up to $500,000 in agricultural settings and $250,000 in more sensitive rural settings)
  • Small scale types of buildings and works in selected overlays
  • Subdivision, advertising signs and car parking.

Do I qualify for VicSmart?

To be classed as a VicSmart application, a proposal must:

  • be one of the state application types
  • meet all the criteria
  • and be located in the specified zone or overlay.

Where a proposal falls into more than one class of VicSmart application, the requirements of each class need to be met.

Further information and checklists relating to VicSmart applications

Permit amendment

Step 1.Complete this application form

Application to amend a planning permit >>

Step 2.Certificate of Title

A current copy of the Certificate of Title (produced within the last three months).

Step 3.Plans required

To amend a planning permit, the following requirements must be met:

  • Provide one copy of plans (scale 1:100 or 1:200) highlighting the proposed changes.
  • All changes to the original permit should be clearly indicated.
  • Plans must not display any previous endorsement stamps.

Plans are not required if amending the description of permit conditions. The permit conditions to be amended need to be identified and accompanied by a written explanation of the proposed changes, with detail of the proposed wording of the amended permit conditions.  

Step 4.Determine your application fee

Permit amendment fees are generally based on the difference between the cost of the original development and the cost of the proposed changes.

For further information, please refer to our fee schedule to determine the applicable application fee.

If you require assistance with establishing the relevant fee, contact the Planning Services Team on 03 5358 8700.

Step 5.Alternative methods of submitting your completed application

Email: Send your completed planning application to

Post: Planning Department, Northern Grampians Shire Council, PO Box 580, Stawell, VIC, 3380.

In person: You can also lodge your application with council's customer service staff at the following offices:

  • Stawell Customer Service - 59-69 Main Street, Stawell view map
  • St Arnaud Customer Service - Town Hall, Napier Street, St Arnaud view map

Extend a permit

Planning permits are issued with an expiry date on the bottom of the document.

Under Section 69 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, an applicant can make an application to council for an extension of time for either commencement or completion.
The application for an extension of time on a planning permit must be made in writing:
  • before the permit expires, or
  • within six months after the permit expires, or
  • within 12 months after the permit expires if the development has lawfully commenced.
Please note that if you are applying for an extension within 12 months after the permit expires, council will require evidence the development commenced before the expiry date of the permit and that all relevant permit conditions were satisfied.

There is no automatic approval in relation to an extension of a permit.

Application for an extension of time for a planning permit >>







Planning permits are generally required for any development or change of land use. If you do need a planning permit, it must be obtained before a building permit can be issued or work can begin. If you want to know if a planning permit is required for your proposal, please contact the council offices on 03 5358 8700. 

You can also book an appointment with a planner to discuss your proposal in detail, identify any issues with the proposal and make any required changes before lodging your application. Please call the council offices to arrange.

As well as a planning permit from council, you may also require approval for your proposal under other legislation. Examples include:

  • Building Permit - Building permits are required for most works such as a new building, extensions, alterations or change of use of an existing building.
  • Liquor Licence - Liquor Licences are required for the sale and/or consumption of alcohol from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.
  • Septic Tank Permit - Permits must be obtained from council's health protection unit for septic tanks where sewerage is not available.
  • Footpath Trading Permits - Approval is required from council's compliance unit for dining or the display of materials on the footpath.
  • Crown Land - Approval is required from the state government for use or development of Crown Land.

These are just some examples of approvals that may be required. You are encouraged to discuss your proposal with the relevant council department and/or external agency early in the process.

If you need a planning permit for your proposal, you will need to lodge a planning application. All planning applications require the following information:

  1. Planning permit application

A complete planning permit application form including the property address, proposal, owner’s details, cost of the development and signed declarations.

2.  Certificate of Title

A current copy of the Certificate of Title (produced within the last three months) including the registered search statement, plan of subdivision and any restrictions that apply to the land e.g. covenants or Section 173 agreements. You can request a copy of your current Certificate of Title from  

3. Plans

One copy of the site, elevation and floor plans. Plans must be to scale (1:100 or 1:200) at A3 size and rotated to landscape orientation. All electronically submitted plans must be sent in PDF format, as individual files or plan sets.  

  • Site plans

A site plan is a bird's-eye view which shows your existing and proposed development, and the position to boundaries and neighbouring developments.

It should show all structures on the proposed site, and any other features, such as vegetation, car parks, driveways and crossovers. Information on the length of boundaries and walls, site levels, the distance between existing and proposed buildings and the property's boundaries and adjoining walls should also be provided. The plans should distinguish clearly between the existing structures and features, and those that are being proposed.

A short written summary should be provided, detailing the site coverage, floor area, number of parking spaces, the area proposed for landscaping and any other relevant details.

Example of existing and proposed site plans(PDF, 134KB)

  • Floor plans

A floor plan is a bird's-eye view of the existing and proposed structures in your development. It should show the layout of the building, its relationship to existing buildings, the location and dimension of walls, windows and doors, and the use of each room and area within the building.

Example of a floorplan(PDF, 125KB)

  • Elevation plans

Elevation plans are side-on views of your proposed development. Elevations of all four sides (north, south, east, west) should accompany your application.

The plans should show:

  • details of construction materials
  • the height and length of walls
  • the dimensions of windows and their height above ground level

Example of elevation plans(PDF, 274KB)



Pay the necessary prescribed fees as per the planning services fee schedule.


Additional documentation may be required, depending on the nature of your application. A planning officer can advise if you will need additional documentation and referral to other authorities. If your proposal is complex due to the planning scheme requirements, further information and the services of a professional consultant may be required.


A planning officer will review your application to check that all required details have been provided. If additional information is required, a further information request letter will be sent. This letter will specify the additional information required to assess the application and will also highlight potential issues with your proposal. You must comply with the lapse date (deadline) stated in the letter. If you require more time, a request will need to be made in writing prior to the due date.

An application cannot be assessed until all of the required information has been provided.

Public notice (advertising) is required if a planning application proposal may result in material detriment to another property. Potentially affected people are entitled to consider a proposal and its impact on them, and to submit objections or submissions for consideration by statutory planning officers and council.

Public notice can take the form of some, or all, of the following three methods:

  • Mail-out to relevant nearby properties
  • On-site notice
  • Newspaper publication.

Please note, if advertising is required, an additional fee will apply to cover the advertising costs. This cost can vary depending on the advertising requirements.