Once you have determined a Planning Permit is required, the relevant documentation will need to be lodged to Council to be assessed. For many applications it is worth considering a professional consultant to assist with preparing and submitting relevant documentation for your planning permit application.
The amount of detail you need to provide in an application will vary, depending on the planning controls that apply to the land and the complexity of the project.
To help you understand what you need to prepare, refer to the application checklist to ensure the relevant documentation is prepared and submitted with your application.
As part of the preliminary assessment, the planner will check the application to ensure there is sufficient information to assess the application. If there is not enough information to enable a thorough assessment, the planner may request further information within 28 days of lodgement of the application. A request for further information may also identify any preliminary concerns with the proposal. A timeframe will be given for the information to be provided and if it is not received within the required time frame the application will lapse.
The Whitehorse Council Statutory Planning team operates digitally and does not work with hard copy documents. Please ensure a digital copy is also provided if submitting further information by mail.
Extension of time to submit further information
Further information is usually required to be submitted to Council within 30 days from the date of the request. If more time is needed t provide the information, a request must be made in writing to the planner before the due date stated in the further information letter outlining the reason for requesting more time.
Council will consider your request for more time and respond by letter or email. If the request is approved, a new date will be specified by which the information must be provided. If your request is not supported, you have 14 days to supply the information or apply to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review the decision to refuse to allow an extension of time by which to provide the further information.
Missing the due date for further information
If you do not provide all the requested information or request in writing more time before the due date, your application will lapse. This means that you will have to submit a new planning permit application which will also include payment of the application fee.
Receipt of further information
Once the requested further information is received, the application will proceed to the next stage of the process, which includes consideration of whether or not public notification (advertising) of the proposal is required. The application may also need to be referred to external authorities, or internal Council departments for comment.
Applications that are required to be advertised will be listed on Councils Planning Register. Plans and related documentation for these applications can also be viewed via the Planning Register – at Advertising list.
The Planning Officer will decide whether to undertake public notification/advertising of the application. Any planning application that has the potential to cause material detriment to a person or property will be required to be advertised. This includes applications for tree removal or lopping that fall outside of the Vicsmart process.
The Statutory Planning Unit together with an appointed contractor prepares advertising/notification requirements for a set fee. The advertising of a planning application includes some or all of the following:
Notification by letter to neighbours
A public notice sign on each frontage of the property, Council's assigned contractor will erect and remove all required public notices on site and take photographic evidence that the notice was on site for the required 14 day period.
Application documents and plans will be published on Whitehorse Council website for the length of the advertising period.
Additional advertising may be required if plans are changed throughout the application process.
The application will be on public display for a period of 14 days.
If you decide to object to, or support a proposal and want to have this registered to the application, you will need to prepare your submission and submit it to the Statutory Planning Unit. This can be done:
• Download the Response Form ( PDF 198.19KB)
• Post your application to Whitehorse City Council, Planning Department, Locked Bag 2, Nunawading 3101
Please note - It is important to understand that it is a requirement of the planning legislation to make any objection available upon request, for inspection by any person once submitted to Council.
What to include?
The advertising process provides the opportunity for people to identify in writing any concerns that they have about a planning application. Planning officers are unable to advise on what you should and should not object to.
To ensure Council considers your application, please ensure:
all relevant contact details (name, address etc) and why you are objecting to the proposal
it is received by the date shown in the notice you were sent or displayed on the site (or int he newspaper if relevant). All objections received prior to a decision being made will be reviewed and considered as part of the decision making process.
Depending on the number of objections received, there may be further consultation undertaken such as a consultation forum. A consultation forum is another opportunity to have issued discussed in a facilitated meeting. The need for a consultation forum will be determined at the completion of the advertising process, so it is important to submit any objections you have as early as possible to ensure you are invited to attend further consultation opportunities.
Please note – if a petition is received it is the responsibility of the first named person to inform everyone else listed on the petition.
Please note that the following issues cannot be taken into consideration by the planning process:
Loss of Property Value;
Type of residents that will occupy new dwellings (Tenants vs. Owner/Occupier);
Too many units in the area;
Concerns associated with noise and pollution; and
Asbestos (this is covered under separate legislation).
What happens after an objection/response is lodged?
If you have lodged your objection via the website, you will receive an automated email response from the Statutory Planning Unit. All other responses received will be sent an acknowledgement letter within 10 working days.
For any application that receive objections, the planner may organise a consultation forum meeting (as described above) with those who lodged an objection/submission, the applicant and the relevant Ward Councillor/s. A consultation meeting aims to identify and understand issues raised, and potentially agree on solutions.
Anyone who submit a response will be informed of the outcome in writing.
Once advertising has been completed, and (if required) any consultation forum has been held, officers will prepare a report that considers the proposal against the relevant policies and planning scheme requirements, objections, and referral comments and will make a recommendation. The recommendation may be determined at officer level or Council depending on the complexity of the application, number of objections and/or any other determining factor. The difference between a delegated officer decision and a Council decision is explained below.
If a recommendation is approved under delegation, it is signed off by an authorised Council Planning Officer.
If an application is to be decided by Council, a report to Council will be required to be prepared by the relevant planning officer. This process takes longer as it will need to fit into Whitehorse Council meeting times and dates, which occur once a month.An application reported to Council will be decided by all 10 Councillors at a Council meeting.
There are three types of decisions that may be issued:
If there are no objections and the planning officer recommends approval, a planning permit will be issued. An applicant can apply to VCAT within 60 days to have the conditions reviewed.
Notice of decision
If the planning officer recommends approval and there are objections, a notice of decision to grant a permit will be issued. All objectors will be sent a copy of this notice and will have 28 days to lodge an application for review at VCAT, if they wish. The applicant can also apply to VCAT within 60 days to have the conditions reviewed. If no objectors lodge a review with VCAT during this time, Council will grant the planning permit.
If the planning officer recommends not to support the application a refusal to grant a permit will be issued. This will be sent to the applicant and all other parties including objectors. The applicant can apply to VCAT within 60 days of the date of the decision to have the decision reviewed.
Objectors and applicants can appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review Council’s decision (as explained above) with regard to a planning permit. This includes:
objecting to the granting of a permit;
objecting to a refusal of a permit; and
objecting to the conditions placed on a permit/or lack of conditions.
VCAT will reconsider the whole application from the beginning. Through this process, VCAT becomes the "decision maker" and can overturn a Council decision.
You can find out more information about how to apply to VCAT and how the review process works through the VCAT website.
Who can appeal? Permit Applicant
If you are a Permit Applicant, you have 60 days from the date of the decision to lodge an appeal to VCAT against a decision. Fees apply based on the type of application being appealed.
If you are an Objector, you have 28 days from the date of the Notice of Decision to lodge an appeal to VCAT. This process will require you to submit a statement of grounds outlining why you are appealing the decision.
No fee applies if as an objector, you are not intending to participate in the hearing but want VCAT to consider your concerns (as outlined in your statement of grounds). Please be aware you will not be informed of the outcome.
If you lodge a statement of grounds in a planning matter and wish to present your submission, a fee is required to be paid at the time of you lodging a statement of grounds to VCAT.
Any decision made by VCAT is final, and there are no further opportunities to challenge this decision. The exception to this is if there is a question of law raised, which would require the matter to be appealed to the Supreme Court of Victoria. If this course of action is considered, it is suggested professional advice be sought.
There are times when a planning permit can be amended, these include:
Amend a current planning application (Section 50/50A/57A of the Planning and Environment Act 1987)
At times applicants may change their application in response to concerns raised during the application process. This process is known as either a Section 50, 50A or 57A amendment depending on who requests the change and at what stage of the application process it is received.
Amendments received after advertising incur a fee of 40% of the original application cost. Re-advertising may be required in such instances and the normal advertising fees apply.
Amend plans and/or conditions to a planning permit (Section 72 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987)
Amendments to plans and/or conditions can be requested after a decision is made. Section 72 amendment applications are the same as normal planning permit applications and are assessed following the standard planning permit application process as outlined above.
Minor changes to endorsed plans (Secondary Consent)
On occasions minor changes to plans may be required that have no potential to impact adjoining properties and do not require additional planning permission or variations to permit conditions. These changes may be able to be considered under ‘Secondary Consent’.
Extension of time to start and/or complete the development
Most permits expire two years from the date of issue, if they have note been acted upon, unless otherwise specified. If extra time is needed an extension of time can be requested only if it is:
Before the permit expires or
Within 6 months after the permit expires or
Within 12 months after the permit expires, if the development lawfully commenced before the expiry date and you only wish to extend the time to complete the development.