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What is Planning?

Planning and Building Permits

Although planning and building are separate processes, they are often needed in conjunction with one another for various projects. For more information about building visit our page on Building Permits.

What is the difference between a Planning Permit and a Building Permit?

The planning permit and building permit systems are very different and operate under separate legislation, although they are often related to each other.

A building permit will be required for most commercial, industrial and residential development including new buildings, alterations and additions to factories, warehouses, shops, dwellings, sheds and in some cases fences and retaining walls. Building permits can be obtained from a private building surveyor.

Prior to any construction or activity on your site (including removal of vegetation or change of use), a proposed development may require a Planning Permit, Building Permit or both.

Planning refers to the decisions that change the environment and affect everyday life. These decisions might be about new public transport, the size of a new shopping centre, the location of parks, a bike path, new road or the use or development on a particular piece of land.

A Planning Permit is a legal document that gives permission for a use or development on a particular site. The planning permit process can be simple or complicated depending on many variable factors that can happen during the process.

Planning Process

The Kingston Planning Scheme sets out rules by applying 'zones' to all land in Kingston. These zones determine what uses are allowed, what uses are prohibited and what uses require approval through the planning permit process.

In some circumstances 'overlays' are also applied to land that outlined a special set of rules based on the unique features of land (for example, it may be susceptible to flooding.

To obtain a Planning Permit you must make an application to your local Council. The council makes most of the planning decisions that affect its municipality. For example, it decides whether or not to grant a planning permit for a new use or development, and what permit conditions are appropriate.

When do I need a Planning Permit

Help Me Plan - Online Tool

Use our Help Me Plan mapping database to search specific site addresses to determine whether a Planning Permit is required for any activity that you may wish to carry out on your land. Prior to any construction or activity on your land, a proposed development (renovation, extension, additional dwelling or buildings and works etc) may require a Planning Permit. In addition to this, certain uses (for example businesses, gyms or restaurants) may also require a Planning Permit.

Please Note: the information provided is a guide only. If your site is affected by multiple zones and/or overlays, you are required to contact Council's City Development team on 03 9581 4131. If you agree to these terms and conditions, please click the below button. 

Type of Planning Permits

Visit our application types.

Request for Written Planning Advice

Council's City Development Team offer several avenues for a customer to enquire about Planning Permit requirements for a particular site. These include:

  • Advice over the phone - Council's Planning Officers can be contacted on 9581 4131 from 8:30am to 5:00pm - Monday to Friday
  • Face to face - Council's Planning Counter is open from 8:30am to 5:00pm - Monday to Friday
  • Help Me Plan - A website feature which allows you to search on particular sites, and relevant planning information will be displayed based on the site.

From time to time, for various reasons, customers may require written information from Council's Planning Officers in relation to Planning Permit Requirements for their site. When written information is required, a formal application must be made to the City Development department, providing specific details of the subject site. Upon receipt of your application, Council's City Development team will provide a written response in approximately ten working days.

Pre-Application Advice

What is Pre-Application Advice?

When a development proposal is lodged at Council for Planning Permit approval it is more likely to be assessed and processed quickly, with a positive outcome if it contains all of the required information and has been designed to comply with the Kingston Planning Scheme and Policies.

Plans submitted to Council for pre-application advice prior to lodgement of an Application for Planning Permit can help to resolve design issues and identify any additional information required to be submitted to facilitate a speedy consideration of the application. Upon receipt of the provided information, a Council Planning Officer will provide written preliminary advice based on the information received and taking into account relevant planning provisions and the Kingston Planning.  The written pre-application advice will be provided within 10 working days.

Written Pre-application advice can provide a number of benefits to both the developer and Council.

These benefits include:

  • Increased certainty about the outcome of an application
  • Reduction in time delays caused by requests for design amendments and further information
  • Reduction in the overall application processing times
  • Improvement in the quality of information submitted to Council
  • Improvement in the design quality of applications
  • Reduction in the number of applications refused
Apply for Pre-Application Advice

The City Development Team has a qualified planning officer available between 8:30am and 5:00pm Monday to Friday.  The planning officer can provide verbal preliminary comments on your proposal in person, however, written comments will not be provided for "over the counter" advice.  If you require written pre-application advice the following information is required to be submitted:

  • Sketch or concept plans of the proposal (mandatory)
  • Certificate of Title including plans, covenant details or S173 Agreements (if applicable). (mandatory)
  • Neighbourhood and Site Description Plan (Mandatory for proposed residential development) (mandatory)
  • Site or survey plan of the subject property
  • Other relevant documents (eg. Arborist report, site photographs, shadow diagrams)

NOTE:  While it is not essential to provide all of the information listed above, however, please note that any advice offered by the planning officer will be based on the quality of plans put before them.   It should also be noted that a thorough assessment of the proposal will not be made at this stage and it is possible that some issues will be overlooked.


The objective of a Pre-Application meeting is to provide a comprehensive and as detailed assessment of the development proposal as possible at this stage, however, please remember that it is a preliminary assessment only, and it may not be possible to identify all areas of concern.  It is also noted, that while an officer may acknowledge that a design element may be acceptable, if your design requires any variation of the Kingston Planning Scheme requirements, you will still be required to justify  this variation in writing when a formal Application for Planning Permit is made.  There is no guarantee that any  variation to the Kingston Planning Scheme will be supported. 

Lodging Your Application

When you are ready to lodge your Application for Planning Permit, the following information is required to be submitted:

  • Payment of the relevant Application Fee. Please refer to Council's Schedule of Planning Fees.
  •  A full and current copy of the Certificate of Title for the subject site (no older than 90 days), including all relevant information (e.g. Restrictions, Covenants or S173 Agreements). You can obtain a Certificate of Title online at LANDATA Victoria.  Alternatively, you can apply for Council to purchase the copy of Title for you.
  • Site context Plan or Neighbourhood and Site Description Plan 
  •  Design Response Plan
  • Detailed Site Layout Plan, Floor Plans and Elevation Plans

Additional Information Required

Two or More Dwellings

In addition to the above, any application for two or more dwellings on a lot will also require the following information to be submitted with your application:

A written statement that describes how the development responds to: 

  • Any relevant policies contained within the Planning Policy Framework
  • Clause 55 of the Kingston Planning Scheme
  • The objectives of any overlay that might apply to the land.

Any additional information that would enable Council to fully assess your application. This may include:

  • Infrastructure Capacity
  • Shadow Diagrams
  • A Concept Landscape Plan including details of landscape themes, existing vegetation to be retained, proposed vegetation, paving and lighting
Sustainable Design Assessment

Your application may be required to address Sustainable Design Practices in accordance with 10 key Sustainable Building Categories.  For more information on these requirements, please see the section further down this page.

Other Application Types

If you require more specific advice in relation to your application type (e.g. information forms, checklists and specific application requirements), please click on your relevant application type below:

Alternatively, you can contact one of our friendly City Development Officers on 9581 4131 or visit the Planning & Building counter at 1230 Nepean Highway, Cheltenham between the hours of 8:30am and 5pm.

Receipt of Application

All Planning Applications received by Council are formally acknowledged in writing.  Your application will be allocated to a Planning Officer, and will be assigned a relevant application reference number.  Upon receipt of your formal acknowledgement letter, you are welcome to make an appointment with the assigned officer to further discuss your application.

Preliminary Assessment

The assigned planning officer will conduct a preliminary assessment of the application.  After conducting this assessment, the planning officer may formally request further information or suggest design modification.  You are required to provide Council any further information requested within the specified time frame prior to your application proceeding.  If you are unable to provide the requested information within the specified time frame there is provision for extending this time.  If no response to Council's request for further information is received in the specified time frame your application will be deemed as 'lapsed'

What next?

Upon receipt of your your Planning Permit and approved plans, you may require various other approvals, some of which may include:

For more information on any additional requirements, please contact the City of Kingston on 1300 653 356.

The council’s planning department provides information and advice about the planning scheme, and processes and coordinates planning proposals for council’s consideration.