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List of the most frequently asked questions asked about planning matters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find the most frequently asked questions asked about planning matters.


If your question is not listed, please contact
Planning Department
Phone: (03) 5036 2352

Need help?

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Do I need a permit?

Many things that we plan to do can affect other people. Therefore we need to have some process to ensure that decisions we make about land use and development are fair, orderly, economic and sustainable.

The Swan Hill Planning Scheme consists of zones, overlays and other provisions which affect whether a permit is required.

Generally, a permit is required for:

  • Changing the use of your property (e.g. Shop to office)
  • Commercial & industrial developments
  • Applying for a liquor licence
  • Display of signage
  • Waiver of car parking
  • Native Vegetation Removal

If you propose to use or develop land, it is best to first discuss the proposal with a planning officer at the Council. By arranging a pre-application meeting, the officer will be able to advise you as to what information you will need to submit with your planning application.

How do I lodge a planning permit application?

Council encourages permit applicants to consult with one of the Council’s Planning Officers prior to formally lodging an application. This should be done on an appointment basis.

Why do I need to submit a current copy of title?

Title information confirms the location and dimensions of the land specified in the planning application and any obligations affecting what can be done on or with the land. As well as describing the land, a full copy of the title will include a diagram or plan of the land and will identify any encumbrances, caveats and notices.

It is important that you attached a current copy (printed within the last three months) of title for each individual parcel of land forming the subject site. ‘Current’ title information accurately provides all relevant and up to date information.

Copies of title documents can be obtained from
Landata VIC

How long will my application take to be processed?

The planning process is complex and the Council must consider a wide range of policies and requirements. A decision may not be made for a considerable time after the application is lodged depending on the complexity of the use, need for further information, public notification, objections, the amount of referrals to relevant authorities and the decision process. It is not unusual for applications to take several months to determine, even where you may feel that the matter appears straight forward. If at any stage you have any queries about the proposal please contact the planner dealing with the application.

Do I need an application to remove/lop/destroy a tree in my property?

The Swan Hill Planning Scheme has many controls regarding the retention of vegetation. It is necessary for people inquiring about this issue to contact the Planning Department with information on the type and health of the vegetation in question. This will assist officers in determining whether a planning permit is required to remove, lop or destroy the vegetation.

Do I need a planning permit to run a business from home?

Some businesses may be conducted from your private place of residence without a Planning approval. However, the Swan Hill Planning Scheme has a number of requirements which need to be met. See Clause 52.11 of the Swan Hill Planning Scheme.

Although you may be able to conduct a business without a permit, if signage is to be erected, a planning permit may be required.

For more information or to arrange an appointment contact
Planning Department
Phone: (03) 5036 2352

See also: Do I need a Planning Permit to run a business from home?

What is the Zoning of my land?

The zoning of a property can be obtained through a planning certificate. All applications for the Swan Hill Rural City Council Planning Certificates must be obtained through LANDATA, the current planning certificate supplier on behalf of the Minister for Planning.

To place your order with LANDATA all you need are accurate property identifiers such as a Lot/Plan number with Volume/Folio and matching street address.

For more information visit

How do I object to a planning permit application?

Where a proposal may cause detriment to another person or the amenity of an area, the application will be notified to persons likely to be affected by the proposal. Objections can be lodged with the Council any time up to when a decision is made, however objections are usually lodged during the 14 day period which the application is advertised.

You can object to an application by completing an Objection to a Planning Permit Application form (see below), or write, or email a statement of how the proposal will affect you. Every objection must include your name and contact details (including address). Once an objection is received, the objector will be advised of the Councils decision.

How do I amend a planning permit?

An application can be made to the Council to amend endorsed plans. Applications need to include a copy of the amended plans and detailing the proposed amendments.

Depending on the number and extent of the amendments proposed, an amendment application may be advertised and referred to service authorities.

An amendment application can also be made for the alteration or removal of conditions on a Planning Permit. Such applications must provide justification for the amendment of the condition and the likely affect of the amendment(s).

Can my planning permit be extended?

A condition on your planning permit will set down the time period for which the development and/or use must commence and to be completed by. The permit will expire if the permit is not complied with in the specified times. An extension to this time can be applied for within three months of the expiry. An application must be accompanied by the applicable fee and an explanation as to why an extension to the permit is being sort. If approved, extensions are usually only extended for a one year period.

What are my appeal rights?

If you have objected to an application for a planning permit that Council has supported you have the opportunity to lodge an appeal against the decision. The appeal must be lodged at the Victorian Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) within 28 days of the determination date. If Council has refused or supported your application subject to conditions, the applicant has the opportunity to also appeal to VCAT within 60 days of the determination date.

What is secondary consent?

A secondary consent is a request for a minor amendment to the plans associated with your Planning Permit. A secondary consent application does not require advertising onsite.

Before applying for a Secondary Consent, you might first wish to speak to one of our Planners to make sure the changes you wish to make are minor.

You will need to complete a Secondary Consent application form and submit a fee together with all relevant paperwork.

How are planning permits advertised?

A fundamental part of the Victorian Planning System is to allow people who may be affected by a planning decision to be given the opportunity to comment on what’s proposed before the decision is made.

Advertising is the formal notice provided to others about a planning application.

You will need to advertise if it is considered that the application might cause material detriment to any person. Unless we are satisfied that there is no material detriment or the Planning Scheme exempts the need for advertising, notice of the application must be given.

Notice may be given by:

  • direct mail to all adjoining owners and occupiers to the property
  • a public notice, erected on the property for 14 clear days (this period extends to 21 days over the Christmas period)
  • a public notice, placed in the local newspaper

In order to reduce delays, we will undertake advertising on behalf of applicants, and will advise applicants of the cost which is payable prior to advertising.

All of the application details (including plans, submissions in support of the proposal and any other relevant information that is lodged by the applicant) are made available to interested parties at the Council Offices

You will be required to sign a Statutory Declaration at the end of the advertising period confirming that you have displayed the notice on your property for that period of time as part of the application process.

How do I object to a planning permit?

Anyone who may be affected by the granting of a permit may submit an objection to the Responsible Authority.

Objection Period An objection may be lodged any time after the advertising period has commenced and before a decision is made on the application.
Right of Review If you lodge an objection, you have the right to apply for a review to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) if the Council decides to grant a permit.
Public Document An objection is a public document and copies may be made available to other parties including the permit applicant, Councillors and VCAT.
Mediation Meetings Mediation meetings are held as an opportunity for all interested parties of a Planning Permit Application to discuss issues in an open forum. These meetings also provide an opportunity for the Town Planner to explain the next steps in the planning permit process to all parties.
Outcomes Objectors may decide to withdraw their objection after attending a consultation meeting. Others may decide that their objection should continue to be registered against the application. We will consider all issues when making a decision on the application.
Planning Permit Decision Process The decision regarding your application is made by our Town Planners who have delegated authority from the Council. After your permit application has been advertised for 14 days, the decision process commences.
Powers of Delegation Powers of Delegation allow the Officer to consider and decide on applications where there are no objections. If there are one 1) or more objections to an application, or if the Town Planner is recommending refusal of the application, then the decision needs to be made by a Council Meeting. The applicant and objectors are invited to attend these meetings.
Notification of Approval or Refusal We will advise you of the outcome of this application in writing. Notification of approval will include a copy of the decision and all relevant conditions relating to the works you are proposing.

What are planning permit conditions?

Your Planning Permit will have conditions that you must follow. Conditions will relate to:

  • When you must start work by (date)
  • When you must complete your works (usually 2 years from approval)
  • Specifics in relation to overlays
  • Specifics in relation to the work being undertaken

Do I need a pre-application meeting?

Pre-application meetings are recommended as a part of the planning permit application process.

Council officers can provide advice to applicants on whether the proposal is generally consistent with the Swan Hill Planning Scheme.

Council officers will also aim to assist applicants to become fully aware of the expected standard and extent of information they are required to provide with a planning permit application to avoid the need for Council to request further information.

How many units/dwellings can I build on my land?

Issues which will affect the suitability of your land for multi-unit development are:

  • The size and location of the land;
  • Site constraints such as vegetation and slope;
  • Whether any Planning Overlays exist;
  • Any title restrictions, easements, covenants or agreements;
  • How the proposal responds to the site and the surrounding neighbours; and
  • Whether the proposal meets the objectives of Clause 55 of the Swan Hill Planning Scheme and other relevant Council policies

There is no minimum lot size for multi-unit developments. It is recommended that you contact an architect, draftsperson or planning consultant familiar with making planning applications and come up with a preliminary design. This design can be submitted to Council during a pre-application meeting with a planning officer.

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