Common planning questions

Why do I require a permit?

You generally need to obtain a Council planning permit to change the use of land, construct a new building or change existing buildings.

You may need a planning permit to:

  • start a business
  • prune or remove a tree
  • subdivide land
  • build two or more dwellings (units/townhouses)
  • extend your home
  • change the use of land or buildings
  • display a sign
  • reduce required car parking spaces
  • develop in rural areas
  • open a restaurant, cafe, bar or tavern
  • install a satellite dish
  • remove or vary a covenant/restriction


What do I need a permit for

Generally, a permit is required for:

  • Changing the use of your property (eg. shop to office, retail to restaurant)
  • Additions to some residential properties
  • Commercial or industrial development
  • Applying for a liquor licence (except a limited liquor licence or bring your own (BYO) permit)
  • Constructing or displaying signage
  • Waiver or reduction of car parking (associated with the increased floor space of commercial/industrial buildings)
  • Construction of another dwelling on a property
  • Subdivision of land
  • Creation, variation or removal of easement or restriction


How long does a planning permit last?

A planning permit will generally have an expiry condition noted on it. The duration of time is calculated from the issue date of the planning permit, not the date of any amendment granted or the date of endorsement of plans (unless an extension of time has been obtained).

If there is no condition on the planning permit, the Planning and Environment Act 1987 specifies that a planning permit expires within two years of the issue date of the planning permit.


How long does it take to get a building permit and do I need one?

Providing all the relevant information is included in your application, most building permits are processed in three to four weeks.

If you plan to do some building work around the house, you should check with us to find out whether you need a building permit.

You might need a building permit for the following types of works:

  • Building extensions and renovations
  • Carports
  • Garages and sheds
  • Building removal
  • Pergolas
  • Verandas and decks
  • Retaining walls
  • Re-stumping an existing building


Where can I find out about what planning regulations apply to my property?

Each individual property has a set of planning controls which specify when a planning permit is needed. To find out what controls apply to your property, you can:

  • Obtain a free property report, or purchase a certificate of title or planning certificate at
  • Visit the planning maps online section of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) website

Zones and overlays show how your land can be used and developed. 

Every property is zoned. A property only has one zone. A zone shows the preferred land uses in an area. The main types of zones are residential, business and industrial.

Some properties also have overlay controls. Overlay controls may protect heritage or show areas that need special care, like those prone to flooding.

Current zoning and overlay information can be viewed at West Wimmera Shire Council Pozi.            


Do I need a permit to construct a fence?

Fencing in most cases does not require a building permit. Fences that adjoin side and rear property lines do not require a permit if constructed under 2 metres high. Front fences constructed of brick or stone above 1.2 metres in height or timber and steel fences above 1.5 metres in height require a building permit. 

Fencing located on the front and side street boundaries of a corner property cannot exceed one metre in height when within 9 metres of the intersection of street alignments.

At other times, the fence itself might not require a permit, however the removal of trees or other native vegetation, may. Other permissions such as a building permit may also be required.

It is important that you talk to a planner before you start work to check what approvals you need.


Do I need a building permit for a pergola?

A pergola is a structure that is considered open-roofed to the rain and air. Slats or shade cloth are acceptable. If connected no further forward than 2.5 metres at the front of a house, or no further forward than the front wall of a house if free standing, a pergola that is less than 3.6 metres in height and not more than 20m2 in area will not require a building permit.


Can I remove a tree which I planted on my house block without a permit?

A planning permit is often required if you wish to remove or prune trees or other vegetation.


Do I need a building permit to reclad or put a new roof and gutters on my house?

A building permit is not required to replace or repair an existing roof or gutter system with like-for-like products. This also applies to the recladding of homes. Please note that if your home is in a bushfire prone area you should consider retrofitting to the appropriate bushfire attack level to protect your home and your family.


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 Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR).

The type of licence required is determined by VCGLR, not by council or the applicant. Therefore, you should contact VCGLR to determine the appropriate type of licence before making an application for a planning permit. 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
  • If the ‘red line’ (licensed area) is being extended
  • A new liquor licence application


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.

Do I need an architect to draw my proposed plans?

Council requires all plans be drawn by an architect or draftsperson and be to a professional standard. Plans must include all the required information and be drawn to scale.  

What is the difference between a planning permit and a building permit?

planning permit is for the use and/or development of land.

building permit relates to the construction of a building only, under the building regulations.

If you require both permits, you must get the planning permit before applying for the building permit. Just because you have a planning permit does not mean you can start construction without first getting a building permit.