Do I need a planning permit?

Before you start:

Not sure if you need a permit? 

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Applying for a planning permit, and the Planning Scheme, are complicated, and can be overwhelming. Even knowing if it is required may need expert knowledge.

If this is your first time seeking a planning permit, we strongly encourage you to speak to one of our expert planners. They will be able to put you on the path to a successful application. 

Not every proposal will need a planning permit. It depends on the planning controls – the zones, overlays and restrictions  – that may apply to your property.

You may need a planning permit to construct or alter a building, remove a feature or change how land is being used.

Common proposals that need a planning permit:

  • Add a deck or extension
  • Build a new house
  • Construct a shed
  • Remove trees or native vegetation
  • Subdivide land
  • Change to commercial or industrial land use
  • Start a business at home
  • Display a sign
  • Add parking spaces
  • Apply for a liquor licence

It is your responsibility to find out if you need a planning permit, but we are here to help.

Step 1. Define your proposal

You should understand what your proposal will look like when completed, and how it will affect your property and the neighbourhood.

To work out the impact of a proposal on your property, take photographs and measurements of the site, and draft out a site and/or floor plan.

This will help you ‘see’ the proposal, and how it interacts with the land and features around it.

If your proposal makes a change that could impact your neighbours, have a chat with them and see what they think of your plans.


Do you have space on your property to add an extension to your house? Would it require a tree to be removed? Will the extension be visible from the road? These changes could impact your neighbours.


You can usually take measurements yourself for simple proposals (e.g. fences) but for larger proposals (e.g. a first-story extension), you might need to engage a draftsperson or surveyor.

Draft plans can be simple – they do not need to be professionally produced. You can sketch them out by hand or use digital tools to create drawings, or edit and annotate photos and images files.  

Next step

If it looks like your proposal is feasible, check if there are any planning restrictions or conditions on your property.

Step 2. Identify any planning restrictions or conditions

Some proposals may seem straightforward but can be complicated by planning controls.

To find out if your proposal is achievable and if you need a planning permit, you need to check if there are any restrictions or conditions on your land.

Planning controls

VicPlan and the Mount Alexander Shire Planning Scheme help us to plan and regulate land use and development in our community, including zones and overlays.

  • Zones  determine how a site can be used (e.g. residential, commercial or business).
  • Overlays protect sites (e.g. heritage) or manage risks (e.g. flooding or bushfires).

Your Certificate of Title may included conditions that could restrict development on your property, such as restrictive covenantsSection 173 agreements and easements.

How to check

  1. Download a VicPlan Planning Property Report  

    VicPlan is a helpful map tool that summarises the planning information for your property, including the zone and overlays.

  2. Check the Mount Alexander Shire Planning Scheme

    Check the zones and overlays identified in your VicPlan Planning Property Report in the planning scheme.

Certificate of Title

If it looks like your proposal is feasible, obtain the Certificate of Title to make sure there are no other conditions on your property.

  • The Certificate of Title can be requested from Landata. Fees will apply.
  • You will need to supply a current Certificate of Title (within the past 3 months) when you apply for your planning permit.

The certificate includes:

  • title information about your property
  • a property plan showing the site boundaries
  • any restrictions that may be applicable to your property (e.g. restrictive covenants, Section 173 agreements and easements)

Next step

If it looks like your proposal is achievable and a planning permit is required, consider if you need professional support to prepare your proposal and the planning permit application.

Do you need professional advice?

If your proposal is complex, or you are having difficulty meeting the application requirements, we strongly recommend that you obtain professional support (e.g. from an architect, draftsperson or surveyor) to prepare your application.

You can also contact us for advice. Our Planning team offers free professional advice to guide you through the planning permit process.

Pre-application meetings

For some proposals, we may recommend that you book a pre-application meeting with a Planning Officer to review your application in detail to ensure it is ready for submission.

Next step


If you are still unsure if you need a planning permit, or have questions, please contact us for advice.