Advertising and signage

The control of advertising signage is very important as they can have profound impacts on landscape, streetscape, amenity and traffic management and safety.

Clause 52.05 of the Planning Scheme outlines the controls relating to advertising signs. These provisions are consistent across the State and specify four different categories of advertising signs:

  • Category 1 applies to business areas
  • Category 2 applies to office and industrial
  • Category 3 applies to high amenity areas
  • Category 4 applies to sensitive areas

Each category identifies advertising signs that do not require a planning permit, those that do require a permit, and those that are prohibited. As you move from Category 1 to Category 4, the level of control over advertising signs increases.

The zoning of the land, or an overlay control affecting the land (such as the Design and Development Overlay) identifies the category of advertising sign control that is applicable to the land. If there is a conflict between the category specified in the zone and an applicable overlay, then the more stringent control prevails.

Certain types of signs, such as traffic signs and “for sale” signs located on the land for sale, do not require a planning permit under specific circumstances, regardless of the category of advertising signage applicable to the land.

Therefore, whether a planning permit is required or not for the erection and display of advertising signage is dependent upon the location of your property, the zoning and types of overlay that apply to the land, and the type and form of advertising signage sought to be displayed.

Due to the complexity of the controls relating to advertising signage within the Nillumbik Planning Scheme, it is imperative that you confirm permit and information requirements with Council’s Planning Unit before you erect and display any advertising signs. Please note that substantial penalties apply for the erection and display any illegal advertising signs.

Clause 22.09 of the Planning Scheme sets out the Signage Policy. The objectives and directions contained within this policy are to guide discretionary decision-making (ie. when a planning permit is required).

Clause 52.05 of the Planning Scheme contains decision guidelines that should be considered when assessing an application for advertising signage. A summary of these decision guidelines is below and these should be addressed by the applicant when preparing a planning permit application:

  • The character of the area
  • Impacts on views and vistas
  • The relationship to the streetscape, setting or landscape
  • The relationship to the site and building. Signs should not detract from the appearance of a building on which they may be displayed
  • The impact of structures associated with the sign
  • The construction, design and quality of signs
  • The impact of any illumination onto adjoining land or roadways
  • The impact of any logo box associated with the sign
  • The need for identification and the opportunities for adequate identification on the site or locality
  • The impact on road safety

Any prospective applicant should refer to Clauses 22.09 and 52.05 of the Nillumbik Planning Scheme prior to lodging an application for signage. The Nillumbik Planning Scheme can be accessed from the Planning pages on Nillumbik Council's website at:

Referral to VicRoads

An application to display an animated or electronic sign within 60 metres of a freeway or arterial road declared under the Road Management Act 2004 must be referred to the Road Corporation (VicRoads). Council must have regard to their advice when considering the planning application.

Checklist for planning assessment

The following information (as a minimum) must accompany any planning permit application for proposed advertising sign(s):

  • Appropriate application fee (schedule of fees available at Shire offices or on Council's website)
  • Completed application form (form available at Shire offices or on Council's website)
  • Full copy of property title, from land titles office within the last three months, along with any related plan of subdivision, restrictions, covenants or agreements (available from Land Victoria or; (see planning advice 4: Obtaining a Copy of Title)
  • A detailed description of all components of the proposal (ie. the number of existing and proposed signs, the type of illumination (if any), the proposed hours of illuminance for illuminated signs (if any), etc)
  • Application requirements as set out in Clause 52.05-2 of the Nillumbik Planning Scheme, including a site context report
  • Three copies of a scaled and fully dimensioned Site Plan, showing (as a minimum):
    • the location of all existing buildings, structures and advertising signs
    • the location and layout of driveways and car parking areas
    • elevation plans of existing buildings and signs
    • the location of the sign(s), including the dimensions and size of the building and/or structure accommodating the sign(s)
    • the exact details of the sign(s) including wording, colours, logos, dimensions (height and width) and a calculation of the area of the sign(s)
    • details of any proposed lighting (if applicable) including whether it is externally or internally lit, the times of illumination, the level of illuminance (brightness measured in lux) and whether it is flashing
  • one set of photo reduced A3 plans of all plans outlined above
  • A written submission detailing how the proposal responds to the provisions of the relevant zone, overlays, particular provisions and State and local planning policies (as appropriate). This should include a direct response to the Signage Policy at Clause 22.09 of the Nillumbik Planning Scheme
  • Where possible, a CD containing a copy of all plans and associated reports in a PDF format

The above checklist ensures that all documents are submitted to Council to initiate the assessment of the planning application. Additional information may be required depending on the precise nature of the proposal and any site-specific considerations. If applications are lodged without sufficient information for Council assessment, Council will formally request further information in accordance with the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Please check Council's other planning advice pages (and their checklists) for relevance to your proposal. If applicable, the information requirements outlined in that checklist should also be provided when lodging your application.


This advice is to be used as a general guide only. Council has made all reasonable effort to ensure the information is true and accurate. However, it is recommended that readers seek professional advice before acting or making decisions on the basis of this information. For any questions or clarification, please contact Council's Planning Services on 9433 3343.