Check if you need a planning permit


Planning permits give you permission to develop or use land in a particular way. You may need a planning permit if you want to make changes to your property, start a business or do certain types of activities. It also depends on:

  • the purpose of the zone your property is located in (for example, residential, industrial, commercial or rural)
  • any overlays applied to your property (for example, in areas requiring bushfire management or heritage protection)
  • other planning requirements affecting the property (for example, an easement on your property for a drain that Melbourne Water needs access to).

To make decisions about planning permit applications, Nillumbik Shire Council uses the planning rules set out in the Nillumbik Planning Scheme.

Activities that may need a permit

You may need a planning permit to:

  • build a new house or multiple houses
  • build an extension or do other works on your current house
  • build a new shed, garage and carport
  • subdivide land
  • run a business from your home
  • operate a business
  • change the way a property or building is used, particularly where it may create a demand for car parking
  • display advertising or business related signage
  • sell or allow people to drink alcohol at a premises
  • do earthworks - includes excavations, raising an area or bringing in fill
  • remove, prune or destroy vegetation (trees and other vegetation)

Or a combination of any of the activities listed above.

Find out what planning controls apply

Planning controls include zones, overlays and other policies such as neighbourhood character guidelines.

These controls explain what the land can be used for and set out rules for things such as building heights, protection of significant vegetation, heritage and more.

To find out what planning controls apply to your property:


All the land in Victoria is divided into zones. The zones indicate what land can and cannot be used for. They are one of the elements of a planning scheme that can determine whether or not a planning permit is required. 

Land zones in Nillumbik are grouped into the following categories:

  • Residential
  • Industrial
  • Commercial
  • Rural
  • Public land
  • Special purpose

Each zone has a particular code. For example, within the Rural category, there is the Green Wedge Zone (GWZ) and the Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ). The Planning Scheme states the overarching purpose of each zone.

Along with the purpose, the Planning Scheme also includes a table of uses for each zone. This table tells you if a permit is required based on how you want to use the land in that zone, or the types of activities you want to carry out. The table of uses breaks down activities into three sections:

  • Section 1: activities that do not require a planning permit in that particular zone.
  • Section 2: activities that do require a planning permit in that particular zone.
  • Section 3: activities that are prohibited in that particular zone. Some uses are not allowed on land in a zone because they may conflict with other uses; for example, industry is prohibited in the Residential Zone.

Once you have found out which zone your property is in, check the Planning Scheme to see if your intended land use may be allowed, and if so, if a permit might be required and what conditions may apply.


The main way that land is organised in Victoria is by zones, however sometimes a secondary control will apply called an overlay.

Not all pieces of land are affected by an overlay. Some properties may be affected by more than one overlay.

If an overlay applies, the land will have some special feature such as a heritage building, significant vegetation or flood risk. The Heritage Overlay, for example, applies to heritage places of natural or cultural significance and describes the requirements that apply.

Overlays in Nillumbik are grouped into the following categories:

  • Environmental and landscape
  • Heritage and built form
  • Land management
  • Other

Each overlay has a particular code. For example, within the Land management category, there is the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) and the Special Building Overlay (SBO). The Planning Scheme states the overarching purpose of each overlay.

Along with the purpose, Planning Scheme also includes information that indicates if a planning permit is required for the construction of a building or other changes to the land. An overlay may specify information that must be submitted with an application for a planning permit.

Once you have found out if any overlays apply to your property, check the Planning Scheme to see if your intended land use may be allowed, and if so, if a permit might be required and what conditions may apply.

Check your Certificate of Title

It is important that you include all accompanying documents along with your Certificate of Title, Title Plan (Plan of Subdivision), Section 173 Agreements and/or covenants. Insufficient or unclear information will delay your application.

There may be restrictions on your property’s Title that you need to be aware of. These are written as encumbrances on the Title and may include a covenant or Section 173 Agreement.

To get a copy of your Certificate of Title, apply online via Landata.

For guidance on how to apply for your Certificate of Title, watch our short video:


Ask Council's Planning Services team

Before you apply for a planning permit or start making changes to your property, talk to Council.

We can help you understand:

  • the planning controls that apply to your property
  • whether or not your proposal needs a permit
  • if your proposal is prohibited
  • what additional information you need to supply with your application.

Call our Planning Services team on 9433 3343.

Get a planning information request 

For a fee, Council can also provide you with a formal written response confirming whether or not you will need a planning permit for your proposed activities.

Request planning information

What happens next?

Once you have confirmed that you need a planning permit, we recommend that you request a free pre-application meeting with a Council Planner before submitting your application. There is no charge for this service.