Frequently Asked Questions

Planning Application Advice

1. Take prompt action

2 .View plans - Council Planning department. Is there a site analysis?

3. Photocopies of parts of plans or file items can be requested [may cost]

4. Check final date for lodgement of objections. [extension can sometimes be arranged]

5. Contact other residents. Council is only obliged to notify adjoining properties, i.e others who could be affected by traffic, parking etc may not receive a notice.

6. If a development requires the demolition of a noteworthy building, check whether the building has a classification or is located in an urban conservation area.

7. Check whether Council has any overlays [protection]on the site.

8. Obtain RESCODE- Relate objectives and criteria of to the applicantís plans.

9. Look for potential problems with overshadowing, privacy, parking, and quality open space. Check for factors affecting neighbourhood character - including setback, building bulk, density, design and landscaping.

10. Contact your ward councillor[s]. Be aware that Council may allow delegate decisions unless there are more than 8 objections.

11. Meet with residents who share concerns and encourage them to lodge objections. [based on above criteria ie not just Ďemotioní].

12. Nominate a group spokesman and keep the local media informed.

13. Lobby all Councillors before the meeting at which the decision is to be made - You will be informed by the Council Planning Department when the application is to come before Council. Encourage fellow objectors to attend with you.

Formation of a local group

1. Recruit 6 or more helpers.

2. Organise a local meeting place.

3. Design and produce a notice, highlighting the particular problems with the application.

4 .Publicise Meeting by -

  • distributing notice, asking recipients to copy it and hand it on.
  • displaying notice in local shops etc.
  • contacting local paper.
  • advertising in the free section of that paper.

5.Invite a speaker from a group with similar experience.

6. Devise clear aims and outcomes for the meeting.

Writing an objection

1 An objection form can be obtained from Council Planning. AND/OR write a letter.

2 Include Own Name, Address, Date; and the Application No., plus details of the development.

3 Confine your objecton to Planning Issues.

4 Deal with relevant elements of RESCODE* in appropriate point form - indicating how the application will affect residential amenity *see above.

VCAT Appeal

REFUSAL TO GRANT A PERMIT by Council - The applicant has 60 days in to lodge an appeal with VCAT

PLANNING PERMIT ISSUED  -  Objector has 21 days in which to lodge an appeal.  Cost $170. (may alter)

Official form (+ guidelines) can be obtained from - Level 7, 55 King Street, Melbourne 3000.
Ph: 9628 9777 Fax: 9628 9789

*Use main points from your objection. Give brief reasons for appeal. Make broad rather than specific statements. (A joint appeal may be lodged, and if the resident group is incorporated, the group may lodge an appeal).

Those involved may decide to:-

*Present own case

*Employ a planner to prepare case, and either planner or self, present.

*Employ legal representative. If you employ a professional, you can get a quote. (A short video may support your case, but VCAT needs to be informed - re: equipment requirements).

VCAT hearings are usually informal and not intimidating. (Check this by attending a prior hearing of another case).


If you are an objector, and the applicant has appealed, you will be informed by VCAT. Notification - may present a statement to VCAT. You give brief reasons on a form to be returned within 28 days. You donít have to do anything but you may wish to support your Councilís decision. If so return the form, and take 6 copies of your statement to the hearing (Statement may be read at hearing). Another person is permitted to take and distribute your statements. You are permitted to question the opposition. Written notification of the decision of the VCAT is sent to all concerned.

Relevant legislation includes Planning and Environment Act, VCAT Act, RESCODE. Year 2000 Amendments to demolition, covenant, and neighbourhood character have been introduced to SPPF by the State Government.