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If after checking this page you are still unsure whether you need a planning permit after checking it, call us on 9217 2236. If you want confirmation in writing, submit a Property Information Request.

VicSmart is a simple and fast planning permit process for straightforward applications. To see if your application qualifies for a VicSmart permit, visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

You may need a planning permit to: 

Subdivide land

Subdivision is the process of creating individual titles for land parcels, units, apartments, shops and commercial and industrial buildings, to enable their separate sale.

Planning permit to subdivide land

You will need to apply for a planning permit to subdivide land into 2 or more lots.

If you intend to build on the subdivided land, you should first apply for a planning permit to build the houses, and then apply for a planning permit to subdivide the land - in line with the approved layout of the houses.

It is much more complex and time consuming to apply to subdivide your land before you have a planning permit approved for the new houses.

All subdivisions must comply with the requirements of the Whittlesea Planning Scheme, which outlines specific requirements that may apply to your property.

You should get a qualified professional like a planning consultant or consulting surveyor to help with your application. To find your local consulting surveyor, visit the Association of Consulting Surveyors Victoria website.

Subdivision process

Most subdivisions require a planning permit and all subdivisions require a Plan of Subdivision to be signed by a Licensed Surveyor.

A planning permit application must be accompanied by the appropriate fees and supported by information that may include:

  • an analysis of the site and adjoining properties
  • an assessment of the subdivision's impact on the neighbourhood
  • a plan of subdivision showing the lot layout and dimensions
  • other information to allow us to assess the application

Permit applications are referred to the Servicing Authorities (such as Yarra Valley Water, Melbourne Water, SPI Electricity, SP Ausnet or Telstra) for assessment of their requirements.

We will issue a permit if we consider that an application for subdivision complies with our criteria.

We will consider the extent to which bushfire risk is relevant and addressed through all applications to subdivide land.

Specific requirements may apply where land is situated within a designated Bushfire Prone Area or the Bushfire Management Overlay.

Permits are issued with conditions that you must meet before we will approve the Plan of Subdivision.

After we issue a permit, we may 'certify' the Plan of Subdivision, which allows you to lodge the Plan of Subdivision at the Titles office.

Before the subdivision can be finalised, a licensed surveyor must perform a comprehensive survey to determine the title location, mark the boundaries of all the lots and prepare necessary supporting documents.

We will provide a Statement of Compliance when all the conditions of the planning permit have been met and the Servicing Authorities have given consent.

The certified Plan of Subdivision along with the Statement of Compliance and other supporting documents are then able to be registered by Land Victoria and the new titles are produced.

Build 2 or more dwellings (units/townhouses)

You always need a planning permit to build more than one dwelling on a block of land in a residential area.

For projects like units or more than one house on a lot, get a qualified planning consultant to help you prepare and submit your application. Ask a qualified architect or draftsperson to prepare the detailed plans you need to submit.

We strongly encourage you to read our Guide to the planning permit process before submitting a planning permit application.

How many units you can build

The number of units you can build on your land is based on the overall design of your proposal, once assessed against the requirements of ResCode (Clause 55 of the Whittlesea Planning Scheme).

There is no formula of dwelling numbers per lot size, such as one dwelling per 300 square metres.

Things that affect how many houses you can build include:

  • keeping an existing dwelling on the site
  • the site’s orientation to the sun in terms of shadows on the neighbouring properties
  • car parking space for cars to turn
  • windows on the abutting land that are close to the boundary
  • the slope of the land

A successful planning permit application has a design that meets the requirements of ResCode and appropriately responds to:

  • the properties on either side and at the back
  • the surrounding neighbourhood
  • the particular features and constraints of the site

The question to ask yourself is not how many units you can fit on your land, but whether your proposal satisfies ResCode and will fit in with the character of the area.

Extend your home

Extending your home can include building an upstairs area, a pergola or a larger living area.

You might need a planning permit for a home extension. This will depend on the zone and/or overlay of your property. You will definitely need a building permit to extend your home.

You do not need a planning permit for a home extension if your land meets all of the following criteria:

  • is in a Residential 1 zone or Mixed Use zone, and
  • bigger than 300 square metres in area, and
  • has no planning overlays like a Heritage, Special Building Overlay or Land Subject to Inundation Overlay, and
  • has no covenants or restrictions on the Certificate of Title for the land. Get a current copy of your Certificate of Title.

Change the use of land or buildings

If you want to change the way you use your land, you may need to apply for a planning permit.

You should first find out the zoning of your land and what uses are allowed.

We can then provide you with advice about whether your proposed use requires a planning permit. Call us on 9217 2236.

Display a sign

If you want to put up, repair or replace signage on the outside of a business premises, you may need to apply for a planning permit, under the Whittlesea Planning Scheme.

You can find all the controls relating to the display of advertising signs in Clause 52.05 of the Whittlesea Planning Scheme.

For more information, contact our Planning Department on 9217 2236 or email

Reduce required car parking spaces

Many land uses require a specified number of car parking spaces to be provided.

Sufficient car parking must be provided on land before:

  • a new land use begins
  • a new building is occupied
  • the floor or site area of an existing use is increased
  • the number of patrons, seats or practitioners at an existing use is increased

You will need a planning permit to reduce the number of required car parking spaces, including to zero.

You may need to prepare a traffic impact assessment with your application to reduce the requirement for car parking.

Car parking areas and access-ways must meet specific design requirements of the Whittlesea Planning Scheme and relevant Australian Standards.

To find out car parking requirements for specific uses and design standards, see Clause 52.06 of the Whittlesea Planning Scheme (PDF - 74KB).

Develop in rural areas

For most uses and development on rural land, you will need to apply for a planning permit.

These include:

  • house siting
  • installing a large water tank
  • building dams or other structures across creeks
  • filling in waterways
  • removing locally native trees or vegetation including grasses
  • constructing a dwelling, building sheds or other structures
  • importing soil or fill
  • undertaking major earthworks including building driveways or tracks
  • rock removal, including rocky knolls, outcrops and rock walls
  • storing shipping containers
  • dumping/storing building waste/material

Open a restaurant, cafe, bar or tavern

Often you need a planning permit to use land as a restaurant, to do renovations or extensions to a restaurant, or for a restaurant with less on-site car parking spaces than listed in the Whittlesea Planning Scheme.

Bars and taverns

Importantly, a bar is a different use to a restaurant. You need a planning permit for a bar or a tavern use when a restaurant business changes to involve less serving of food and more serving of alcohol.

Parking spaces

If you want to change an existing shop to a restaurant, you will need to provide more car parking spaces or apply for a planning permit to reduce the requirement.

You can find out the car parking requirements for different uses in Clause 52.06 of the Whittlesea Planning Scheme (PDF - 74KB).

Licenced premises

In addition to a liquor licence, you may need a planning permit to sell or consume liquor.

Other permits you may need for a business

You may also need to register a food business and obtain a building permit.

Install a satellite dish

You are required to apply for a planning permit before installing satellite dishes in a residential area, except if the satellite dish is less than 1.2 metres in diameter.

This requirement helps to ensure satellite dishes do not negatively impact on the look of the community or neighbourhood, or cause concern and conflict among nearby residents.

Satellite dishes that require a planning permit

If your satellite dish is between 1.2m and 2.4m in diameter and meets the following conditions, you do not need a planning permit to install it in a residential area:

  • it is not visible from the street (other than a lane), or a public park
  • it is setback 1m from the side or rear boundary, plus 0.3m for every metre of height between 3.6m and 6.9m, plus 1m for every metre of height over 6.9m
  • it is setback at least 3m from the boundary where it is opposite an existing habitable room window

If your satellite dish does not meet all these conditions, you need a planning permit to install it.

If you have already installed a satellite dish without knowing you needed planning approval, you must still meet the above requirements, or you must remove the dish upon our request.

We understand that many people are unaware of the planning controls for satellite dishes, and will help make the planning permit application process as easy and inexpensive as possible for you.

Remove or vary a covenant/restriction

We can’t approve a planning permit application that would contravene a restrictive covenant, unless a planning permit has been approved to remove or vary the covenant.

A restrictive covenant is a private agreement between land owners to restrict the way land may be used and developed.

The land owners who benefit from a restrictive covenant are responsible for enforcing it, not local councils or the government.

If there is a breach of a restrictive covenant, the person who owns land benefiting from the covenant can take action through the courts against any owner breaching the covenant.

For information on removing or varying a restrictive covenant, visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.