Do I need a planning permit?

A planning permit gives you legal permission to add a new development or change the way land is used.  

You won’t always need a planning permit. It depends on the zones, overlays and planning policies that cover the property. It is your responsibility to find out if you need one.

Even minor changes may require a planning permit.

A building permit is different to a planning permit. In some cases, you need both a planning and building permit. You must obtain a planning permit before you can apply for a building permit. Visit our Building Permits page for more information.

When you may need a planning permit

Renovating or extending your house

This may include:

  • adding an extra room
  • building a shed or garage
  • building a pergola or deck
  • building a front fence
  • installing a new driveway

Starting, expanding or moving a business

This may include:

  • starting a business
  • changing the layout or purpose of your business
  • changing the location of your business
  • adding a liquor licence to your business
  • displaying new signage

New businesses may need other kinds of permits as well. The best way to find out the right information is through our Business Concierge.

Removing a tree or vegetation

Yes. You will need permission to remove, destroy, lop or prune a tree in your garden or land. You will need either a local law permit or planning permit.

You will require a planning permit to remove, destroy, lop or prune a tree if your land is affected by:

  • Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO)
  • Environmental Significant Overlay (ESO)
  • Heritage Overlay (HO) protecting a tree
  • Erosion Management Overlay (EMO)
  • The vegetation is native to Victoria (naturally occurring, not planted) and your land is over 4,000m2 in area. 
  • The vegetation is to be retained under a Section 173 or covenant on Title.
  • The tree was retained or planted as per a planning permit affecting the land.

You can check the overlays that apply to your property at VicPlan

If your land is not affected by one of the above requirements, you will need a tree protection local law permit.

Visit our Planning FAQs or Local Laws for Trees page for more information.

Developments with multiple units

You always need a planning permit to build more than one dwelling on a lot. A dwelling includes a house, unit or townhouse. The number of dwellings you can build depends on the zoning of your land and the design of your development. There is no formula of dwelling numbers per lot size. It's not about how many dwellings could fit on a lot, but whether the proposal meets the requirements of the Frankston Planning Scheme.

Some factors that affect how many dwellings you can build include:

  • site and neighbouring trees (including street trees)
  • the slope of the land
  • car parking and space for cars to turn
  • site orientation to the sun in relation to shadowing on neighbouring properties
  • windows on abutting land that are close to the boundary.

If you are looking to buy a property and would like to know what you may be able to build, you should talk to an experienced draftsperson or architect who understands the Planning Scheme requirements for multi-dwelling developments and can provide advice.

Subdividing land

If you are dividing land, this is called subdivision. Subdivision requires a planning permit. If you are subdividing your backyard or a vacant lot of land, you should submit a planning permit application for a development before you submit one for subdivision.

As well as our planning process requirements, to subdivide you may need:

  • to make an open space contribution
  • to complete any necessary public works
  • to create an owners corporation
  • water sensitive urban design techniques to meet targets for stormwater quality and discharge.

You should engage a Land Surveyor to assist you with the Subdivision process.

Developing a property with a Heritage Overlay

If there is a Heritage Overlay on the property, you must get a planning permit for all external changes. This includes if you want to build a front fence or install solar panels and other services. It may also include if you want to paint your property or remove or prune trees. 

You will need a planning permit for whole or partial demolition of any building or structure.


Visit our Planning permit process page to start preparing your application. 

If you're still unsure, request written advice or call us on 1300 322 322 to find out if you need a permit. 

A planning officer is available Monday to Friday to assist you.