Prepare your planning permit application

The first step is determining the following - Do you need a planning permit or a building permit?

Once you have confirmed that you require a planning permit, you can use the resources below to prepare your application.

We recommend that you seek advice from the council or a planning consultant to help you save time and avoid costly mistakes. We can support in the following ways:

Contact the Planning Department - General Enquiries

Planning may seem complicated, but we are here to help. If you would like to have a chat with a Town Planner, you can request a callback or email response through our online planning portal (click the link below > planning department > submit a general enquiry).


To help us respond to your enquiry, please provide us with the following information:

  • Property address or rate notice or title description
  • Details of your proposed use or development. 

Upon receiving your request, a Planning Officer will typically contact you within two to three business days. For straightforward matters you can expect a phone call and/or follow-up email.  For complex matters, we may recommend a pre-application meeting or a formal written response (at a cost).

Formal written planning advice

Seeking written planning advice allows the council to review the proposal and provide a clear and thorough response. Please note, a fee of $52 is required for formal written planning advice.


Planning advice can be legally binding so it is important that it is provided in writing and based on a clear written description of what you, as the potential applicant, are proposing. Planning advice can only be provided by a delegated Planning Officer. In some cases, your Building Surveyor may require you to provide them with written consent from the council confirming that no planning permit is required.


To request formal written planning advice, please provide the following information:

  • An electronic version of the relevant plans
  • A copy of the Certificate of Title (this can be purchased through Landata)

A response will be provided within 10 business days.

You can make your request via our online planning portal below.


Our Planning Team offers a pre-application meeting service that offers you the opportunity to meet with the team to discuss your proposal in detail and gain valuable advice. This also gives you the opportunity to make any changes to your application before you submit, in line with the council’s requirements.

Please note, any advice given at the pre-application meeting is preliminary advice only. Whilst all effort will be made to ensure the information and advice provided is accurate, it is provided without prejudice to any future decision the council may make in respect of the proposal.

How to prepare for your pre-application meeting

Below is a list of things you can do to get the most out of your appointment:

  • Look at the Northern Grampians Planning Scheme, including planning policies that may affect your application
  • Check the zoning information and overlays for your property
  • Obtain a current copy of the Certificate of Title for the land (visit LANDATA and perform an online title search)
  • Prepare preliminary designs and sketches that show: 
    1. How your proposal respects the site and the surrounding area 
    2. How the design considers the site constraints

Planning controls are the zones, overlays or other provisions included in the planning scheme that affect how a lot can be used and developed.

About zones

Every property has only one zone. Common zones include:

  • Residential zones (such as the township zone)
  • Industrial zones
  • Commercial zones
  • Rural zones (such as the farming zone, rural living zone and rural conservation zone)
  • Public land zones (such as the public use zone, public park and recreation zone, public conservation and resource zone, and transport zone).

Zoning aims to avoid conflicts between different types of land uses and ensures that development is appropriate for an area.


About overlays

Overlays operate in addition to zones. An overlay seeks to achieve certain design and building standards for lot, including:

  • Bushfire
  • Environmental
  • Land management
  • Heritage
  • Flood issues

Not all lots are subject to an overlay. If an overlay applies to your lot, it might specify additional requirements in relation to subdivisions, buildings and works, vegetation removal and other matters.


Search for property information

You can search for the planning information of a property, parcel or crown land to understand what zones and overlays apply at VicPlan.

The planning scheme is a legal document prepared by the council and approved by the Minister for Planning.

The Northern Grampians Planning Scheme contains policies and provisions that control land use and development by guiding decisions of the council and other authorities. For example:

  • It separates incompatible land uses so that we don’t have inappropriate adjacencies
  • It triggers consultation with other important authorities outside of the council and guides their decisions on issues relating to overlays

The Northern Grampians Planning Scheme is a binding agreement that applies to all private and public land, with some exemptions. The administration and enforcement of a planning scheme is the duty of the council as a responsible authority, unless other authorities are specified in the scheme. If you are unfamiliar with using planning schemes, we suggest you visit the Guide to Using Victoria's Planning System.

Victorian Government Planning System

For an overview of the planning system in Victoria and the planning permit process, refer to the following publications from the Victorian Government.

Planning in Victoria - A Guide to the Planning System

Planning Permits Process