Town Planning at Coast to Country Building Approvals


Coast to Country Building Approvals offers Town Planning consulting services under our Director Fiona Castley assisted by Bronwyn Mellor.


Between Fiona and Bronwyn, our team offers over 30 years of statutory and strategic planning experience across various Local Governments and private practise.

At Coast to Country Building Approvals our focus is on Statutory Planning permit applications, with other advice available on request.

With a passion for new development as well as heritage matters we would love to hear about your plans…

Coast to Country Building Approvals is leading the way in providing an integrated approach to development projects.

Whether it is a fast clarification as to whether a planning permit is needed for a building permit application or clarification of requirements in the National Construction Code  prior to town planning permit applications being lodged with Councils – we can assist with prompt professional advice!

Our Town Planning Services include the following;


  • Pre-purchase or project scoping advice
  • Preparation and collation of planning permit application documentation
  • Submitting use & development applications to Councils throughout Victoria
  • Assisting in engaging and project managing a specialist project team to prepare your development proposal
  • Working closely with your project team to provide advice throughout the design process
  • Handling all communication with your relevant Council in relation to your project
  • Being your advocate or voice at Council Meetings or in discussions with Council Staff
  • Responding to further information requests or submissions


And most importantly explaining ‘town planner speak’ in a way you can understand!


What is Town Planning and why do you need a permit from your Local Council?


Town Planning at Coast to Country Building Approvals looks at the overall use and development of a site to ensure that your development projects achieves your aims AND meets the rules of the Local Council’s Planning Scheme.

Local Councils are legally responsible for assessing and deciding on town planning permit applications.

They have the legislative power to approve or refuse development proposals.

Coast to Country Building Approvals do not issue town planning permits.

Coast to Country Building Approvals can assist you by being your voice and advocating on your behalf with your Local Council to ensure they have all the information they need to decide on your development project.

We review and collate all the relevant information for submission to Council, preparing an assessment report giving Council all the information they need to assess and decide on your development proposal.

This differs from the Building Surveying Industry where Registered Building Surveyors (such as Coast to Country Building Approvals) are legally responsible for assessing, inspecting and deciding on building permit applications.

How is a planning permit different from a building permit?


A planning permit looks at overall use and development of a site – what will a building look like, where will it sit on a site, what uses are happening in the building or on the land – and assesses them against a statewide rulebook – the Planning Scheme.

Building Permits look at construction methods and building structure to ensure that all buildings are safe and compliant for their future uses.

Why do the town planning rules differ from place to place?


Some rules of the planning scheme are the same everywhere – some are determined at a local level or a site by site basis.

The planning scheme rules can change from property to property, and you might need a planning permit for something whilst your neighbour may not.

All land titles in Victoria are subject to the rules of their local planning scheme.

These rules are mostly governed by which Zone and Overlays apply to the land title in question, although there are other specific rules for particular uses, to remove native vegetation or if you are next to a main road.


A Zone sets out which uses and development can occur with or without a permit, or which uses are prohibited in a certain type of area.

The rules for zones are set at a Victoria wide level, and your local Council has chosen which ones suit your area best.


An Overlay seeks to protect something specific or assess risk in relation to a specific development proposal.

An Overlay sets out specific circumstances in which a permit is or is not required.

An Overlay generally looks at one of four themes;

  • Environment, Vegetation and Landscape
  • Heritage and Development Character
  • Land Management, Flooding, Bushfires and Other Risks
  • External impacts on Development

There will only ever be one zone over each part a site, but there may be multiple (or even overlapping) overlays protecting different things or requiring risk assessments to be undertaken.

Can you help with subdivisions?


We can assist and lodge planning permit applications for subdivisions on your behalf.

Coast to Country Building Approvals works with a variety of licensed land surveyors to project manage and act as permit application for subdivision proposals.

There are four main stages in the subdivision process:

  • Stage 1: Planning Permit. Apply for and obtain a Planning Permit for the subdivision. Coast to Country Building Approvals can undertake this stage on your behalf.
  • Stage 2: Certification. Engage a licensed Land Surveyor to prepare and lodge with Council an application for Certification in accordance with the Subdivision Act 1988 and the approved Planning Permit. A licensed Land Surveyor must undertake this stage.
  • Stage 3: Statement of Compliance. Complete the requirements of the permit, including those of the referral authorities, to allow the issue of Statement of Compliance for the plan of subdivision under the Subdivision Act 1988. This is issued after all requirements have been met. A licensed Land Surveyor must undertake this stage.
  • Stage 4: Title Registration. Your Land Surveyor will lodge the Certified plan of subdivision, Statement of Compliance and any other plans or documents with Land Victoria. This allows new titles to be issued for each lot created. Council does not lodge the plan at Land Victoria. Your solicitor or conveyancer will usually deal with this stage.

Can you help me with my Local Council?

Coast to Country Building Approvals have assisted with town planning applications in the following areas;

  • Ararat Rural City Council
  • Ballarat City Council
  • Colac Otway Shire
  • Corangamite Shire Council
  • Darebin City Council
  • East Gippsland Shire Council
  • Glenelg Shire Council
  • Golden Plains Shire Council
  • Greater Geelong City Council
  • Moyne Shire Council
  • Pyrenees Shire Council
  • Southern Grampians Shire Council
  • Warrnambool City Council
  • Northern Grampians Shire Council


Coast to Country Building Approvals can advocate and submit applications on your behalf to all local councils across Regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne.

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