Making a Planning Application

Planning schemes regulate the use and development of land. One way they do this is by requiring that certain types of use and development can only be carried out if a planning permit is granted. The Mansfield Shire Planning Scheme is accessible here. Council can provide advice and information about local planning and are able to facilitate pre-application discussions to assess your proposal against the applicable planning requirements.

Whether you need a planning permit or not will depend on a number of factors including:

  • The zone in which your land is located
  • Whether any overlays apply to your land

Some common reasons a planning permit is required include (but not limited to):

  • Constructing, altering or extending a dwelling or shed
  • Starting a business (including working from home)
  • Industrial or commercial developments
  • Subdivisions
  • Removing native vegetation
  • Changing the use of a property
  • Applying for a liquor licence
  • Advertising signage

Do I need a Planning Permit?

Planning permits are generally required for any development or change of land use. Whether you need a planning permit or not will depend on a number of factors including:

  • The zone in which your land is located
  • The schedule to the zone as applicable
  • Whether any overlays apply to your land or if the development or use is subject to any ‘Particular Provisions’ in the Planning Scheme.

How do I find out what zones or overlays affect my property?

A free report can be obtained from Land Victoria  that gives you the zone and overlay controls affecting your property.

Land Victoria website

Applying for a Planning Permit

Pre-application meeting

Prior to lodging your application you can meet with a planner to discuss your proposal, gain advice and have the opportunity to make any changes to your application prior to submission in line with Council’s requirements.

We are here to help you with your planning questions. To talk to the planner on duty:

Book a Pre-Application Meeting 

Council is here to provide advice and guidance so you can refine your plans and have a greater chance of a successful application. A little preparation up front goes a long way to helping us help you.

Early engagement with Council facilitates a smoother review during the application process.

Pre-Application Meetings will be with Councils Planning Officer’s. 

What do I need to bring to a pre-application meeting?

You need to bring preliminary designs and sketches of your proposal including site plans. Make sure you have the correct address and a copy of title can be very useful.

Complete the application form

Application for Planning Permit(PDF, 328KB)

  1. Fill in all required fields:
    • Address of land, lot number, plan of subdivision
    • Purpose of the application – proposed land use
    • Cost of the development
    • Current land use
    • Who wants the permit – who is the contact?
    • Who owns the land/property? Is the declaration signed?
  2. Ensure you have all the supporting information and documents
  3. Email is now our preferred method of communication so please ensure that your email address is provided on your application.
  4.  Applications and enquiries should be emailed to

Planning Permit Checklist(PDF, 107KB)

Certificate of Title

A current copy of the Certificate of Title (less than 100 days old) is required with your application to confirm ownership details, location and dimensions of the land and any restrictions which may affect what can be developed on the land. 

How to obtain a certificate of title(PDF, 381KB)

  • covenant is a private written agreement between the seller and purchaser restricting what the land can be used for, for example limiting development to construction of a single dwelling or controlling the types of materials that can be used for new buildings or fences.
  • caveat is a note on the Title indication that a third party claims rights over the property, for example, a mortgage.
  • Section 173 Agreement is a written agreement between Council and the land owner to set out particular conditions or restrictions on the way the land is used or developed, or to achieve other planning objectives in relation to the land. A Section 173 Agreement is a legal contract registered on the Certificate of Title and can be enforced in the same way as a permit condition or the planning scheme.
  • An easement is a right held by someone else to use the land, for example a Goulburn Valley Water sewerage pipe.

Download a copy of your current Certificate of Title 


One copy of the site, elevation and floor plans

  • A detailed site plan showing proposed development, existing conditions including access point and identify any vegetation that needs to be removed.
  • Plans of proposed buildings including external elevations, internal layout and external building materials

A written submission detailing the proposed activities on the land.

Planning and Subdivision Fees

Fees(PDF, 218KB)  

Enquiry Form Planning

Form(PDF, 184KB)

VICSMART Applications

VicSmart is a streamlined application process for low impact, straight forward planning applications.

Your planning application may qualify under the VicSmart assessment process. For applications assessed under VicSmart a decision is expected within 10 business days, applications do not require advertising. The application must meet a set criteria for you application to be assessed under the VicSmart process.

VicSmart Application Guide

VicSmart Application Form(PDF, 354KB)

Goulburn Murray Water VicSmart Consent  Application(PDF, 164KB)

Applications can be lodged by emailing

Referral agencies

Some planning applications need to be referred to external authorities for comment or conditions.

Referral authorities include but not limited to are:

CFA, Goulburn Murray Water, Goulburn Valley Water, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Environment Protection Authority, Ausnet Services, VicRoads, Heritage Victoria

Amend an existing Planning Permit

After a planning permit has been issued you may find that changes are required.

You can apply to:

  • Amend the conditions of a planning permit
  • Amend approved plans
  • Amend the use or development for which the planning permit was issued

You can only amend a valid planning permit. Contact the planning department to confirm that your permit is still valid.

Application to Amend a Planning Permit(PDF, 1MB)

Secondary Consent

Minor changes to endorsed plans can by made by a Request for Secondary Consent.

Secondary Consent Application(PDF, 190KB)

Extension of time for an Existing Planning Permit

You may apply for an extension of time to the commencement date or completion date as outlined in your planning permit.

Application must be made before or within 6 months after the permit expiry commencement date, where the use or development allowed by the permit has not yet started. 

Extension of Time Application(PDF, 191KB)

Guideline for preparing Development Plans

A development plan is required when the Development Pan Overlay (DPO) is applied to land under the Mansfield Planning Scheme. The DPO requires that a development plan be prepared and approved prior to any planning permit being issued for any use, subdivision or any other development on the land.

Guideline(PDF, 321KB)


Subdivision involves dividing a property into small lots that can be sold separately. It can also include the realignment or alterations to title boundaries even if the number of lots do not change.

Can I subdivide?

Before making an application to subdivide, you should ensure that the possibility of subdivision is permissible (this will generally be dictated by your land’s zoning).

For land contained within rural zones subdivision may not be permissible, if proposed lots cannot meet the minimum lot size required within the applicable schedule of the zone. Contact the Planning Department for further information about minimum sizes and zones.

A licensed surveyor is required to survey the land and prepare the plan that council needs to certify. A licensed surveyor can assist with the initial proposal/design and will liaise with council to meet their requirements.

Subdividing your land

Info Sheet Subdividing your Land(PDF, 117KB)

Public Notices – Planning applications on public exhibition

When a planning application requires formal advertising, documentation such as plans and reports will be available to view detailing the proposal.

Letters will be forwarded to adjoining properties owners and occupiers; however some applications will also be advertised by a sign on the property or in the local newspaper.

View Current Planning applications on public exhibition 

Dwellings in Farming Zone

The purpose of the Farming Zone (FZ) is to ensure that non-agricultural uses, particularly dwellings, do not adversely affect the use of land for agriculture. Land in the FZ is primarily for farming and agricultural activities, including sustainable land management practices

Info sheet Farming Zone(PDF, 211KB)

Objecting to a planning application

If you are affected by or have concerns about a planning permit application you can contact the planning department to discuss the matter.  You can also submit a formal objection.

Anyone can submit an objection to Council all objections must be considered when assessing the application. Objections can be lodged with Council any time up to when it makes a decision.

An objection must:

  • Be in writing, this includes email
  • State reasons for the objection
  • State how the objector would be affected by the grant of a permit
  • Your objection should be based on a valid planning issue

Your objection is not confidential and your name and address details will be available to the applicant.

VCAT – Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

Council’s decision about a planning permit application does not necessarily have to be final. If you are not satisfied with the decision, either as an objector or applicant you can have the decision reviewed at Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

VCAT is an independent tribunal, which hears and decides on applications by permit applicants, objectors and others in an informal and expeditious manner upon their merits. It permits a broad range of people whose interests are affected by a decision to participate in a hearing.

Please refer to the VCAT website for further information.

Phone 1300 018 228


In some instances landowners or operators fail to get the appropriate approval and Council receives complaints.

Council’s preference is that all complaints should be writing and at a minimum identify:

  • The address where the activity or works are occurring
  • A description of the activity/works that are being carried out
  • Your name, address, email address and contact phone number

Complaints can be sent to:

Postal Address

Development Compliance Officer
Mansfield Shire Council
33 Highett Street Mansfield Vic 3722


Statutory Services Planning Review

Mansfield Shire Council engaged Grosvenor Performance Group in February 2020 to undertake a review of the processes and procedures of Council’s Statutory Planning Unit. This review is part of an organisation wide review that was initiated following the Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey. 

The review process found opportunities for the efficient and effective delivery of statutory planning services. These opportunities include the level of customer service, the application process, and the timeframe considered acceptable to reach planning application outcomes. A number of recommendations have been made and a roadmap has been developed in order to prioritise and action these recommendations.

The report detailing the outcomes from the Statutory Planning Service Review was presented to Council on 15 September 2020 and is available here(PDF, 213KB) .

Council and staff are committed to the implementation of the recommendations. An annual report will be provided to Council to provide an update on the performance of the unit against the recommendations of the review.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a difference between building and planning permits?

Planning and building permits are different and each one is governed by different laws and regulations. A planning permit approves the use and development of the land and a building permit ensures that the building work is safe, structurally sound and complies with building regulations. A planning permit must be issued before you can apply for your building permit.


What is the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO)?

The Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) applies to land that may be significantly affected by a bushfire.

The BMO triggers the need for a planning permit for certain uses, developments and subdivision, and requires appropriate bushfire protection measures.

You can check if you property is affected by the BMO using Planning Maps Online.


What are zones and overlays?

All properties are covered by a planning zone which states how the land can be developed or built on and what is prohibited. The property may also be covered by an overlay which may set further restrictions on the land in terms of design, vegetation, heritage, flood levels, water catchment etc. If the property is covered by a bushfire overlay for example, there may be significant restrictions and conditions regarding building on the site.

Planning Maps Online will give you zones and overlays.


Where do I send Applications and enquiries

You can send any Applications and enquiries to

How long does the planning process take?

A decision can be made on the planning permit application after all of the other processes, including notifying referral authorities and adjoining properties, is complete. All decisions are subject to appeal rights and these vary depending on the decision that has been made. All appeals are made through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

A decision should be made within 60 statutory days if all required information is received when the application is lodged.