Assessing the need for a planning permit

Find answers to a range of frequently asked questions related to planning.

Why do I need a planning permit?

The West Wimmera Planning Schemes consists of zones, overlays and other provisions which determine whether a permit is required. To check which zones and overlays affect your property, visit VicPlan

Generally, a permit is required for:

  • subdivision of land
  • development of land in rural areas
  • extending your home
  • constructing a dwelling on a lot less than 300m2
  • building two or more dwellings [units/townhouses] on one lot
  • starting a business
  • changing the use of your land or buildings (eg. shop to a medical centre or warehouse to a gym)
  • constructing outbuildings and sheds in rural areas
  • commercial or industrial development
  • applying for a liquor licence
  • constructing or displaying signage
  • waiver or reduction of car parking (associated with changing the use of the land or increasing the floor area of the building)
  • creation, variation or removal of easement or restriction
  • removal of a tree, removal of vegetation, native and/or introduced

You should not assume that any works, however small, do not require a permit.


Do I need a planning permit to remove a tree on my property?

A planning permit is often required if you wish to remove or prune trees or:

  • other native vegetation on your land;
  • non-native species of vegetation if the property is within a heritage overlay or environmental significance overlay; and
  • if there are planning permit conditions or other restrictions or agreements that apply to your property.

It is important you talk to Council before you remove any vegetation.

Your application will have the best chance of being approved if: 

  • you demonstrate there is no other option but to remove the trees/vegetation.
  • the overall impact of the vegetation removal on the surrounding landscape and ecology of the area is minimal.
  • tree/vegetation removal has been minimised, with good quality vegetation and significant, healthy trees being successfully retained.
  • you are willing to work with Council to develop a revegetation plan to provide replacement planting that achieves a long-term environmental gain (this can be done through our biodiversity offsets program).
  • The revegetation plan has been prepared by a professional consultant after talking to Council and includes detailed information from an arborist or ecologist.

The following link will provide more information on exemptions: Exemptions from requiring a planning permit to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation


Do I need a planning permit to obtain a liquor licence?

There are many types of liquor licences. Most require planning permission prior to obtaining a liquor licence from the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC).

The type of licence required is determined by VGCCC, not by council or the applicant. Therefore, you should contact VGCCC to determine the appropriate type of licence before making an application for a planning permit. Details of the type of liquor licences that require a Planning Permit can be found here.

A bring your own (BYO) permit does not need a planning permit from council.

A permit is also required for the following:

  • A different licence, or category of licence from that which is in force
  • If the hours of trading allowed under any licence are to be extended
  • If the number of patrons allowed under any licence is to be increased
  • The licensed area ('red line') is being extended

Do I need a permit to subdivide my land?

Yes, you need a planning permit to subdivide land. In most instances, you will be required to apply for a planning permit for a development (eg. the construction of a second dwelling on a lot) before applying to subdivide the land. This is done to ensure the new lots are able to be used for the purpose of the subdivision.

Minimum lot sizes for subdivision are prescribed by the relevant zones, schedules and overlays that apply to the property under Council’s Planning Scheme(PDF, 34MB)

Speak to Council to understand whether your land can be further subdivided.


Do I need a permit to put up a fence?

When proposing to build a new fence, there may be a requirement for a building and/or planning permit. Prior to applying, it is important to discuss the proposed fence with any neighbours who share the same boundary.

Common reasons that require a planning permit for a fence include:

  • the fence is in an area where heritage controls apply
  • the fence is in a flooding zone or overlay

Please note: Regulations concerning the cost sharing of boundary fences is a civil matter and is outside Council’s jurisdiction. You will find further support at


Do I need a planning permit to construct an extension to my house or shed?

In certain areas a planning permit might 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 commercial Zone, or overlay controls such as heritage overlay, or the size of the land.

Common reasons for needing a planning permit for an extension to a dwelling include:

  • The lot is in a rural living or farming zone;
  • The lot is less than 300m2 is an urban area, and
  • There are overlays such as heritage overlay, bushfire management overlay or land subject to inundation overlay affecting the lot, and
  • There are covenants or restrictions on the Certificate of Title for the lot.


Can I run a home-based business from my property?

You can run a business from your house/dwelling without a planning permit, if it meets the 'home occupation' requirements specified in the planning scheme(PDF, 34MB).

A planning permit is not required for a 'home occupation' sign if the sign does not exceed 0.2 sqm in area and is not in an area included in the heritage overlay.

If the home occupation requirements cannot be met, the business will need to be operated from a suitable commercial area.


Can I run an AirBNB from my property?

In Victoria, local councils have not sought to control short-term letting or visitor accommodation in an existing residence through local planning schemes.

It is recommended you contact Council’s building and health department on 13 99 72 about your proposal as there might be other regulations that need to be adhered to.


Do I need a planning permit for signs?

More often than not, a planning permit is required for signs (i.e. business identification signs). If you require a planning permit for signage you will need to determine what zone applies to the land and if there are any overlays affecting the property.

Each zone will specify what category of signage controls apply. Clause 52.05 of the planning scheme(PDF, 34MB) will advise what types of signs require a planning permit, what signs are prohibited, and what signs do not require planning approval.


Can I construct a dependent person’s unit/granny flat on my property?

A dependent person’s unit is defined in the planning scheme as a “moveable building on the same lot as an existing dwelling and used to provide accommodation for a person dependent on a resident of the existing dwelling.” These are sometimes known as ‘granny flats’.

Common reasons for requiring a planning permit for a dependent person’s unit include:

  • There are overlays such as Bushfire Management Overlay or Land Subject to Inundation Overlay affecting the land.
  • There are covenants or restrictions on the Certificate of Title for the land.


Can I build a dwelling in the farming zone?

The purpose of the farming zone is primarily to provide for the use of land for farming and agricultural activities.

An application for a planning permit needs to demonstrate that the dwelling is reasonably required for the agricultural use occurring on the land.

A planning permit is triggered based on the size of the property (either less than 40 or 80 hectares depending on the location) and the siting of the dwelling (close to a boundary line for example).


I want to build a house and a shed; can I build the shed first to store materials or live in while the house is being built?

If a shed is proposed on a lot without a dwelling, this may be classified as another form of land use such as a store which:

  • might be prohibited by the zone; or
  • might require you a planning permit.

Living in a shed is often seen as a cost‐effective and practical option while building a house. However, it is illegal to occupy a shed or garage for residential purposes unless building and planning permit approvals have been obtained to construct a permanent residence on the site.

Any shed proposed to be used for temporary accommodation would also need to comply with the building code requirements for residential buildings.

Residential buildings require a higher standard of construction and significant and costly upgrade works will usually be required.



I want to buy a property that has a shed fitted out to live in – can I move in?

No, it is illegal to live in a shed, garage or temporary home for residential purposes. Under the building code, residential buildings or a dwelling requires higher standard of construction than sheds, especially in bushfire prone areas.

People often enquire about living in sheds or a temporary home as a money saving option to occupy land while planning or building a dwelling, causing further problems down the track.

It is always advisable to contact Council’s planning and building departments to ensure buildings on a property that you are interested in are legal.



Can I subdivide my property?

A planning permit is required to subdivide land.

Generally, lots are smaller in township areas and larger in farming areas.

Minimum lot sizes for subdivision are prescribed by the relevant zones, schedules and overlays that apply to the property under Council’s planning scheme.

Speak to Council to understand whether your land can be further subdivided.