Tuesday, 3 October 2023
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Subdivision. Liquor licensing. Working from home. Medium density housing. Industrial land. Advertising. Parking. Changing use of lands. Granny flats. On Farm Accommodation.

Permit Types



The Swan Hill Planning Scheme determines whether a planning permit is needed to subdivide land. You should check with our Statutory Planning Unit to decide:

  • Whether a planning permit is needed, and
  • The minimum lot sizes and dimensions allowed in any particular zone.

We also suggest you make a pre-application meeting with our Statutory Planning Unit. This will help you to find out the likely requirements for your application, helping reduce the time when considering and assessing your planning permit.

Our officers can also give you specific advice on whether your proposal fits with the Swan Hill Planning Scheme and the documentation and information you’ll need for your application.

Getting approval to subdivide

There are a few steps in the process for approval to subdivide. This includes:

  • Getting a planning permit for subdivision
  • Getting certification, and
  • A Statement of Compliance

When getting your planning permit for a subdivision there are a few things that have to be considered:

  • It meets the needs of service companies (such as water, telephone, sewerage and drainage). Consent has to be given by these companies to Council.
  • That all the conditions outlined in the planning permit are met, including
    • access for the service companies
    • any contribution to open space (if required)
    • any drainage works that might be needed
  • Any amended plans that might need to be submitted for the permit.

Council will then decide whether to grant or refuse your planning permit.

Council has 60 days to consider your planning permit application. This timeframe doesn’t include advertising of your planning proposal to your neighbouring property owners (if it’s required).


Certification makes sure your plan of subdivision is suitable. Your plan can’t be certified until you have a planning permit.
Before certification, your plan has to:

  • Checked by service companies whether access (easements) is needed for their services
  • Checked if more works for the planning permit need to be done (such as drainage or road construction)
  • The engineering plans are approved
  • Service companies agree to your plan of subdivision

If your plan becomes certified it’s valid for five years. Your plan must be registered at the Titles Office during this time or it will become void.

Statement of Compliance

A Statement of Compliance:

  • completes the subdivision process
  • enables registration of your subdivision at the Titles Office and release of the new titles
  • is not given until all conditions of your planning permit are met

A Statement of Compliance will only be issued when:

  • Council gets a letter from all of the service companies (water, telephone, sewerage and drainage)
  • Our Council officer has carried out a final inspection of the site

Liquor licensing

The Swan Hill Planning Scheme (Clause 52.27) sets out all the requirements around planning permits for liquor licences.

If you’re applying for a planning permit for a liquor licence, it must:

  • Have all the information needed on the Liquor Licence Checklist
  • Professionally drawn plans (to scale) which show the site and neighbouring development
  • The proposed licensed area must be clearly shown with a red line. This includes any footpath proposed to be licensed.

Some liquor licence applications need a cumulative impact assessment. Talk to Council to determine whether this will be required.
You don’t need a planning permit for:

  • Limited liquor licences
  • Reducing licensed hours, patron numbers or a licensed area
  • A different licence or category of licence solely because of changes to liquor licence categories.
For more information or to apply for a liquor licence visit
Victorian Commission for Gambling and Regulation

Working from home

Many different businesses can be run from home if they don’t disturb your neighbours. Operating a business from home (or on the land around your home) is called a home occupation.

You don’t need a planning permit for home occupation in a Residential Zone as long as you meet particular requirements. These are listed in Clause 52.11 of the Swan Hill Planning Scheme.

Medium density housing developments

Under the Swan Hill Planning Scheme, all applications for medium density housing developments (including single home or extensions to single homes on blocks less than 300 square metres), must:

  • Have a neighbourhood and site description and design response (described in clause 54 to 55 of the Planning Scheme).

Applications which don’t have an approved neighbourhood and site description, and design response will not be considered.

Neighbourhood and site description

This description shows how the layout of the block and its surrounds has led to a design.

This provides a base for developers, designers, Council and neighbours to encourage good design and keep the character of a neighbourhood.

It also helps identify any possible concerns from neighbours around a development (reducing conflict and time and delay costs).

The description must be done before the design.

Design response

This explains how the development’s design links in with the neighbourhood and site description. It also details how the design improves a neighbourhood’s character and how it fits in with the houses, land and development on the site.

The design response must include street elevations (with the right proportions) showing the development among surrounding buildings.

Industrial land

Land which is being used or developed as an industrial site might need a planning permit. This includes the construction of a building and works to do with industrial activities. A planning permit might also be needed if you’re changing to a different industrial service.

The Swan Hill Planning Scheme Industrial Development Requirements outlines what you need when it comes to a planning permit for an industrial site.

Advertising signage

Under the Swan Hill Planning Scheme, a planning permit may be required for certain advertising signage. A checklist is available to help you with your planning application for advertising signage.

Car parking

If you’re proposing a development (or changing a piece of land’s use), you need to check what car parking is required under the Swan Hill Planning Scheme.

Applications can be made for variations to car parking (including reducing the number of car parks or waiving the need for parking). The success of these applications depends on

  • What parking is already available in the area
  • Public transport access
  • What the land will be used for

Changing use of a land

If you want to change the use of a piece of land or a premise (such as a home to a medical centre), a planning permit is usually needed. This will be considered according to the Swan Hill Planning Scheme. The assessment for a change of use will depend on:

  • Car parking
  • Its impact on the area
  • Hours of operation
  • Noise
  • The impact on neighbouring land and development

Granny flats

Also known as a dependent persons unit, a planning permit for a granny flat usually requires a restriction to be created on your Certificate of Title to land. This means the dependable persons unit has to be removed when it’s no longer used for this reason. A condition of the permit might also restrict subdivision.

Talk to Council’s Planning Department to find out more about the requirements of adding a granny flat to your home.

Covenants A covenant restricts what your land can be used for. Covenants are recorded on the Certificate of Title to land. They can also stop or restrict further development of a piece of land (including subdivisions), limit building heights and more. A planning permit won’t be issued if it goes against a covenant.

You can apply for a variation or removal of a covenant through a planning permit application.

On Farm Accommodation

A planning permit refers to the use of the land or the development of land for a particular purpose. The purpose of the Farming Zone as described in the Swan Hill Planning Scheme is:

  • To provide for the use of the land for agriculture
  • To encourage the retention of productive agricultural land.
  • To ensure that non-agricultural uses, including dwellings, do not adversely affect the use of land for agriculture.
  • To ensure that any subdivision of land is for the rural or agricultural use and development of land, rather than for rural lifestyle lots and developments.

Therefore, accommodation for seasonal workers in Farming Zone is limited to:

Changing approved plans, planning permits and extensions

Amending plans or permits is similar to the process for a planning application.

An amendment could be for changes to:

  • Approved buildings and works
  • Operating hours, or
  • Additions and extensions

A planning permit will usually expire if:

  • Approved works or use hasn’t started within two years of the issued permit
  • The approved use or works aren’t finished within four years of the issued permit

You can apply to Council to have a planning permit extended. You must make this application within 3 months before the permit expires.

Need help?

Submit a Building or Planning enquiryBook a meeting with Planning
For more information contact
Planning Department
Phone: (03) 5036 2352

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