Planning & Building

Building or extending? Planning a larger development, or simply interested in planning in Hindmarsh?
Read our planning and building sections to learn more!

Town Planning

The Planning Scheme|Zones and Overlays|Applying for a planning permit|Amending a Planning Permit|Extending a Planning Permit|VicSmart Applications|Having your say|The Planning Department

A planning permit is a legal document which gives permission to develop, subdivide or use land for a particular purpose. This is not to be confused with a Building Permit, which deals with the methods of building construction (the ‘nuts and bolts’). To obtain a planning permit, you will need to submit an application to Council. It’s important to do your homework because some uses of land are actually prohibited under the Hindmarsh Planning Scheme, while others are restricted.

A planning permit may be required when you are:

  • Starting a new business;
  • Constructing, altering or extending a building, house or shed (including farm sheds and outbuildings);
  • Subdividing land;
  • Removing, destroying or lopping native vegetation;
  • Displaying a sign;
  • Changing the use of a building or land;
  • Applying for a liquor license; or
  • Holding a festival or event.

Please note this list is not exhaustive and there may be other instances where you would require a planning permit.

Seeking planning advice? Contact the planning department, with the address of the property that you are enquiring about to have a chat. Should you require written planning advice, please complete a request for planning advice form and submit to Council.

The Planning Scheme

The Hindmarsh Planning Scheme sets out the many types of use and development of land that require a planning permit within Hindmarsh Shire Council.

For more information about planning schemes in general, visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

What are zones and overlays?

Land throughout Hindmarsh Shire is grouped into zones; e.g. ‘General Residential’ or ‘Farming’. Zones specify the purpose of the subject land and how it can be used.  Every zone has a table of uses as follows:

  • Section 1: uses which do not require a planning permit in that zone;
  • Section 2: uses with do require a planning permit in that zone; and
  • Section 3: uses that are prohibited in that zone.

Building and works and subdivision requirements are also outlined within the zone provisions.

An overlay addresses specific issues which may apply to certain areas of land; e.g. ‘flooding’, ‘heritage’ or ‘bushfire management’. Any provisions specified by an overlay apply in addition to zoning provisions, should the land be affected by an overlay.

Curious about what zone your property is in? Visit our Hindmarsh Community Map to discover your property!

How to apply for a planning permit

It is recommended that you contact the planning department to discuss your proposal prior to submitting an application. Pre-lodgement meetings are encouraged, and are offered as a free service from Council, and are available by appointment.

Preparing your application

When lodging your application, you will require the following items:

  • Completed application form;
  • A recent copy of the Certificate of title (not older than 2 months);
  • Three (3) A3 sized copies of a site plan drawn to scale with a north point, showing existing and proposed structures, lengths of boundaries and walls, distances between buildings, and features such as vegetation, water courses, driveways and crossovers if applicable;
  • Three (3) A3 sized copies of any elevations drawn to scale (including height and length of walls and windows, and details of construction materials) (if applicable);
  • Three (3) A3 sized copies of any floor plans (if applicable); and
  • The application fee (as advised (payable via cash, cheque or card at any of our 4 offices. This fee can also be invoiced.).

PLEASE NOTE: Depending on the complexity of your application, it is recommended that you engage the services of a licensed surveyor, draftsperson or planning consultant to assist you with preparing your application. Council cannot recommend any licensed surveyor, draftsperson or planning consultant.

Lodging your application

Council welcomes applications over the counter, via email or posted. Subdivision applications can also be submitted directly through the Surveying and Planning through Electronic Applications and Referrals (SPEAR) website via the engagement of a licensed land surveyor. Your application will be assessed, and the planner will contact you should further information be required.

Receiving your permit

Should your permit be approved, the planner will contact you to inform you of Council’s decision. Your permit will include your endorsed plans, and will likely contain conditions, which must be abided by. Should you have any queries in relation to your permit, you are welcome to discuss these with the planner.

Please note that you may need other approvals in addition to a planning permit – such as a building permit, a local laws permit, or an environmental health permit

Amending a Planning Permit

Need to change your permit or plans? Contact the Planning department on (03) 5391 4444 to discuss your proposed amendments prior to submitting an application for an amendment or an application for secondary consent.

Extending a Planning Permit

Feel like you need more time? Planning permits do have expiry dates. You can apply for an extension of your permit by submitting an application to extend a planning permit and paying the applicable fee as advised.

VicSmart Applications

Low impact, straightforward and simple proposals may be eligible for VicSmart processing. This means that the application can be processed in 10 business days, the application will not be required to be advertised, and the application information is subject to criteria within the planning scheme.

For more information about VicSmart permits and to check your eligibility, visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s VicSmart Planning page. Still not sure? Contact the planning department.

Having your say

If you feel you may be affected by a planning permit application which has been publicly notified, you are welcome to contact the Planning department to discuss your concerns, or visit the Nhill office to view the application on public display (viewing and booking rules apply – contact (03) 5391 4444).

If you object to an application, you are welcome to submit an objection to Council. Objections must be made in writing, clearly stating your reasons for objection and how you feel you would be affected by the proposal. Contact details such as a name, postal address and phone number must also be included. You must not submit any personal information or copyright material of third parties without their informed consent. By submitting the material, you agree that the use of the material as detailed above does not breach any third party's right to privacy and copyright.

All types of submissions are considered, including emails and hand written letters and diagrams, however you must send them in to Council to ensure that your position is recorded and considered. Please note that petitions or joint letters are only considered as one objection, and that it is normal practice for the ‘first named’ person to become the formal contact point.

Submissions can be made up until a decision is made on the proposed application.

The Planning Department

Hindmarsh Shire Council
92 Nelson Street
Nhill, VIC 3418

Phone: (03) 5391 4444

Email:; marked 'Attention Planning'.


The Building Department of Hindmarsh Shire Council issues many different Building Permits for building and construction activities

Common Building Permits:

  • Building Permits – new works, commercial and domestic;
  • Building permits – alterations/additions to existing buildings;
  • Demolition Permits; and,
  • Occupancy Permits.

Other Permits:

  • Siting approval for temporary structures;
  • Change of use/classification;
  • Temporary Occupancy Permits; and,
  • Place of Public Entertainment (POPE) Permits.
  • You can download application forms (links below).

For more information regarding Building Permits and Building Control click here

For more information about Permits issued for building and construction by Hindmarsh Shire Council, contact us on 03 5391 4444.

How to apply for a Building Permit:

You can lodge your application for a Building Permit at any of our Customer Service Centers at Nhill, Dimboola, Rainbow or Jeparit or by post.

You will need to:

Complete a Building Permit application form click here.

Provide documents and plans to support the application. These include –

  • Land title.
  • Owner Builder Consent from the VBA (Victoria Building Association) if the cost of works is greater than $12,000 and you intend to carry out the works yourself.
  • Domestic builders warranty insurance certificate for projects with a cost of works greater than $16,000 (n/a for owner builders).
  • Prepare 3 copies of each of the following drawings (to a scale of not less than 1:100) that shows:
  • An allotment plan showing the location of the proposed building, any other buildings on the property, the property boundaries any buildings on the adjoining properties and intended use for stormwater runoff;
  • Any streets, footpaths or crossings adjoining the allotment;
  • Structural drawings of the proposed structure;
  • Elevation drawings;
  • A floorplan showing downpipe positions; and,
  • Specifications.
  • Make payment for this application.

(You can lodge your application and make payment at any of our conveniently located Customer Service Centers. Payment can be made using cash, cheque, or credit/debit card at the Nhill office).

Please note: the amount of information required to accompany a Building Permit application varies from project to project. Council many request that more information be provided to provide a full application assessment.

Alternatively you can mail your application and the documents supporting the application to:

The Building Department
Hindmarsh Shire Council
92 Nelson Street
Nhill, VIC 3418

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