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Do I require a planning permit?

On this page we explain some of the most common reasons people require a planning permit. To also assist you with determining if you need a permit, head to our customer portal - This page will assist you in determining whether you need a planning permit for the works and/or activities you propose to undertake on your land. Any information entered will also be captured as part of your Application if you choose to proceed.

Online Planning Customer portal

You may need a planning permit to do certain things on your property, depending on where the site is and which zones, overlays and particular provisions affect the land. On this page we explain some of the most common reasons people require a planning permit.

Start a business

Find out about planning permits to start a business.

What about home businesses?

You can run a business from your home without a planning permit, if it meets the requirements specified in Clause 52.11 Home Based Business of the Whittlesea Planning Scheme. If the home-based business requirements cannot be met, a planning permit may be granted to vary some of these requirements, or the business may need to be relocated to operate from a suitable commercial area.

Prune or remove a tree

In many cases, a planning permit is required to remove native trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses.

Find out about planning permits to prune or remove a tree on private property.

Do I need a planning permit to remove or prune/lop or destroy a tree from my private property?

A planning permit may be needed if you are going to remove, prune, lop or destroy a native tree (including dead vegetation/trees). It is recommended that you contact Council's Building and Planning department to determine if planning permit is required.

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.

Can I subdivide my residential land without building dwellings/units first?

In most instances you will be required to apply for a planning permit for the development (for example, the construction of a second dwelling on a lot) before applying to subdivide the land. Once the development permit is approved for the development, subdivision is normally a straight forward process and will be dealt with as a separate permit application. In some cases, applicants may choose to lodge development and subdivision permits together.

Build 2 or more dwellings (units/townhouses)

A planning permit is required to build more than one dwelling on a block of land in a residential area.

How many units can I build on a lot?

There is no formula of dwelling numbers per lot size, generally speaking, Council uses ResCode (Clause 55 of the Whittlesea Planning Scheme) to assess planning permit applications for multi-unit developments. Please note, in addition to clause 55, specific requirements under the schedule to the zone may also apply.

Extend your home

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

Do I need a planning permit to extend my house and/or to construct a single dwelling on a lot?

In certain areas a planning permit may be required for the construction of a single dwelling or extension and / or additions to a single dwelling. The need for a planning permit may be triggered by zoning such as Green Wedge Zone and Rural Conservation Zone, or overlay controls, such as Heritage Overlay or the size of the land.

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

  • is in a Residential 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.

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.

We can provide you with advice about whether your proposed use requires a planning permit on 9217 2259.

Display a sign

Advertising and/or promotion signs are signs used to identify a business, promote an event or product or provide information about a service available on land.

Do I need a planning permit to display an advertising sign?

In most cases, advertising signs require a planning permit, and must meet the requirements of Clause 52.05 Signs of the Whittlesea Planning Scheme. It is recommended that you contact Council's Building and Planning department to determine if planning permit is required.

Community board signs

If you would like to display promotional board signage on Council land for a local educational, cultural, political, religious, social or recreational event, there are allocated locations for these. The process is managed by our Community Cultural Development Team. They can be contacted on 9217 2122 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

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

Do I need a planning permit to reduce the number of car parking spaces?

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.

Developing in rural areas

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

These include:

  • house siting
  • 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

Remove or vary a covenant/restriction

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

An application for a Planning Permit is the common way of removing a Covenant. However, the landowner should obtain legal advice in order to consider whether any of the other methods available are appropriate in the circumstances. Covenants and their removal can involve complicated questions of property law and planning law.

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

How do I search for a land title?

Searches can be conducted online through LANDATA® at

Searches can also be conducted in person at Land Victoria.

If you are unable to search for a title online or in person, lawyers, conveyancers or professional title search firms can do it for you at an additional cost.

More information

If you require further assistance, please contact us on 9217 2259 or email