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Buddying Up: Why Planning Permits Are No Solo Effort


A Planning Permit is a legal document that authorises the use and/or development of property.

The Planning Permit outlines the conditions that must be fulfilled as well as a set of plans.

In simple terms, a planning permit may well be the single most important document in the town planning process.

It tells you what you have been approved to do with your land and sets the rules for the development that is set to take place.

However, whilst as Town Planners we’d love to take all the credit for the successful acquisition of a planning permit, the truth is that planning permits are no solo effort.

They are a team effort, as explained by Terrain Consulting Group Director Lorenzo Rigoni.

“One of the things to consider with a Planning Permit is that it’s not as simple as you get the plan drawn up, lodged at Council and you go through a process.

“There’s a lot of stakeholders that come into the issue of a Planning Permit.”

The various stakeholders involved in any given planning permit application includes:

• Client
• Architect
• Accountant
• Conveyancer/Lawyer
• Real Estate Agent
• Land Surveyor
• Builder
• Financial institution/lender
• Town Planners (Private and Council)
• Council

Each one of these stakeholders, regardless of whether they lay on the client’s side of the fence or on the local government’s side of the fence, have an important role to play.

“Town planners, for example, whether it’s the local government planner as the decision maker or the planning consultant, come into play,” he said.

“Negotiating outcomes, when you come across a situation with a Town Planner from local government who may have an initial or preliminary feedback that has an impact on the client brief, One way that our office addresses that is that we undertake pre-application meetings and liaise with the Council planners before lodgement.

“The benefit of that process is it’s a great pre-step. You can save yourself six months delay and you know up front what the key issues are.

“It saves a lot of stress and saves a lot of time, so we actively adopt that approach, even if it’s just a few phone calls.

“Councils are very open to those discussions. We then keep the client involved and brief them afterwards as well.”

This example of collaboration and open discussion can be repeated with all the various stakeholders throughout the planning application process.

Whether it’s consulting a lawyer or conveyancer about a legal issue, a real estate agent about how a potential change to the application might affect the saleability of the property, everyone has a valuable contribution to make.

“Whether it’s funding for projects or the timing for settlements or the builder waiting to get into construction and scheduling the works into their program, they all have their input.”