Image of front of restaurant with aframe sign on footpath
import yard in Melbourne. Destined for car sales yards and showrooms where they can be sold.

Are you in the process of setting up a business as a Licensed Motor Car Trader (LMCT)? Sounds exciting! Before you can apply for your motor car trader’s licence, and before you start to set up your car yard, there’s another important step you may need to take: that is obtaining a planning permit from your local Council. 

Why do LMCTs often need a Planning Permit?

Zoning Regulations: Different locations across Melbourne and Victoria are zoned for different types of use—residential, commercial, industrial, etc. The zoning of your property may mean that a Planning Permit is required for your car yard..

Other permit triggers: Other factors that may trigger the need for a planning permit are access being proposed onto a main road, vegetation removal, or additional planning overlays that can impact properties. 

What do Councils consider in their assessment?

Land Use Compatibility: This ensures your car yard won’t cause issues like traffic congestion, noise, or environmental problems for the surrounding area.

Development Control: This allows local councils to manage how land is developed if you are proposing any buildings or works, ensuring appropriate bult form outcomes for the locale.

How to apply for a Planning Permit to become a Licensed Motor Car Trader (LMCT)

If you find this list daunting or stressful, AS Planning can help you throughout the Planning Permit application process, please contact us to have a chat.

  1. Check Zoning, Overlay and Other Policy Requirements
    • Reach out to your local Council or check their website to see the zoning and overlay rules for your proposed location.
    • Understand the specific requirements and restrictions in the planning scheme for your area.
  2. Pre-Application Meeting
    • Schedule a meeting with the planning department of your local Council. This can help you identify any potential issues early on and clarify what you need. 
  3. Prepare Your Application
    • Application Form: Get the planning permit application form from your local Council and fill it out, noting some councils preferred online applications
    • Important Supporting Documents: There are documents you will need to include with your application, including a copy of title for the land, plan(s), and a town planning report justifying the use and/or development.. You may also require additional documentation such as a traffic report by a traffic engineer, details of proposed business signage and any other specific information required by your local Council. 
    • Fees: There will be a permit application fee from Council, as well as consultancy fees to factor in for the specialist reports and any professional advice required to support your application. These fees will vary depending on your proposal and the complexity of your application.
  4. Submit Your Application
    • Lodge your completed application and all supporting documents with your local Council.
  5. Council Review and Public Notification
    • The Council will review your application and might ask for further information.
    • Your application may be advertised to the public so neighbours and other stakeholders can give feedback.
  6. Assessment and Decision
    • The Council will consider your car yard application, any public feedback, and decide whether to grant or refuse the permit. They might attach conditions to the permit if it’s approved.
  7. Compliance and Implementation
    • If you get the permit, make sure you follow all the conditions set by the Council.
    • Don’t forget to get any other necessary permits or licenses, like building permits if you’re constructing new structures.

Additional Tips

  • Environmental and Safety Regulations: Make sure your car yard complies with all environmental and safety rules.
  • Business Registration: Ensure your business is registered and meets all legal requirements to operate as an LMCT.
  • Get help with Planning Permit Application: If you need support, AS Planning can assist you through the planning permit application process. Contact us to find out how we can help you. 
  • Written planning advice may be required: It may be that a planning permit is not required for your business. In this instance you may be required to apply for formal written confirmation from your local Council. AS Planning can also assist you with receiving such advice from your local Council in a timely manner. 

By following these steps, you can smoothly navigate the process and get your car yard up and running in compliance with local regulations. Good luck with your application!

Image of older style suburban houses in Melbourne.

Understanding the development potential of a property before buying or selling is paramount. Let’s see why it is important to conduct due diligence regarding development opportunities which can include clarifying key factors such as the zoning, planning overlays and any other planning policy relevant to the site, whether there is a designated building envelope on the land, presence of significant trees and vegetation, whether there are any restrictions on the title and the overall feasibility of your proposed use and/or development.

What is the development potential of your site? 

Before diving into any real estate transaction, it’s crucial to assess the development potential of the property in question. Factors such as town planning regulations, land size, and surrounding infrastructure play significant roles in determining what can be built on a particular site. 

Buyers and sellers alike should conduct thorough due diligence activities to uncover any restrictions or opportunities regarding development potential. This may involve consulting with town planners, conducting site surveys, and researching local council regulations and policies. AS Planning can help you with this, so feel free to contact us today by phone, email or via our online form.

Some important questions to ask when considering development opportunities of a property or vacant land:

Does the land have a building envelope? 

Some properties have associated building envelopes on the land. The building envelope outlines the permissible area and height within which buildings can be constructed. It’s essential to align proposed developments within this envelope to ensure compliance with local regulations.

Are there any significant trees or vegetation on site? 

The presence of significant trees can greatly influence development potential. The relevant Planning Scheme and the local council often have regulations protecting these trees and vegetation, which may restrict building activities near them. Identifying and assessing the impact of significant trees and vegetation is crucial during the planning stage.

Is change of use or rezoning feasible? 

Exploring the possibility of rezoning or change of use can unlock additional value in a property. However, this process can be complex and may require approvals from local councils and government authorities. Understanding the feasibility and implications of such changes is essential for informed decision-making.

A Town Planning consultant can help you independently assess planning factors that can influence your plans for development 

Gaining insight into your property’s development potential before buying or selling can significantly impact its value and future opportunities. By considering factors that will trigger local (and in some instances State) planning approvals, stakeholders can make informed decisions that align with their objectives. Engaging with an experienced town planner can provide invaluable guidance throughout this process. AS Planning is highly experienced in working across most Local Government Areas in Victoria, so contact us today to help you maximise the potential of your property.

Does your business require a Liquor Licence and how do you apply for one? Picture of a bar with cocktail shakers and ornate glasses lined up in a row. Rows of alcoholic drink bottles lined up in the background.

If you’re planning to open a business in Victoria that involves selling or supplying alcoholic beverages, you’ll need to obtain a liquor licence. Liquor licences are regulated by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR).

This essential licence is required for various types of businesses. Let’s have a look at the type of businesses that need a liquor licence and the steps to apply for one. 

It is important to note that many liquor licences also require a planning permit from your local Council prior to obtaining the liquor licence. It is highly recommended you reach out to your local Council or a Town Planning consultant for advice on whether the liquor licence you require also triggers the need for a planning permit. Contact us today.

What kind of businesses require a Liquor Licence in Melbourne & Victoria?

A liquor licence is necessary for a range of businesses, including but not limited to:

Restaurants and Cafes:

If you plan to serve alcohol alongside meals, a liquor licence is essential.

Bars and Pubs:

Establishments that primarily serve alcoholic beverages to patrons must be licenced.


Nightclubs offering alcohol for on-site consumption require licences.

Hotels and Motels:

Businesses providing accommodation and serving alcohol on their premises need liquor licences.

Bottle Shops and Liquor Stores:

Retail stores selling packaged alcoholic beverages for off-site consumption must be licenced.

Events and Catering Services:

Catering businesses serving alcohol at events need licences.

Wineries, Breweries, and Distilleries:

Producers and manufacturers of alcoholic beverages often require specific licences for tasting rooms and sales.

Sports Clubs and Associations:

Clubs serving alcohol to members and guests need liquor licences.

Community Clubs:

Social and community clubs offering alcohol services require licences.

Entertainment Venues:

Theaters, concert halls, and similar entertainment venues serving alcohol need licences.

How do you apply for a Liquor licence in Victoria?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a liquor licence in the state of Victoria:

1. Determine licence Type:

Identify the appropriate licence type for your business based on its nature, location, and alcohol service scope.

2. Gather Documentation:

Collect all necessary documents, including business details, financial information, floor plans, and Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) policies.

3. Complete RSA Training:

Ensure you and your staff complete the mandatory Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training.

4. Create an Account:

Register on the VCGLR’s online portal (VCGLR Interactive) to initiate your application.

5. Pay Application Fee:

Be prepared to pay the application fee, which varies depending on your licence type and circumstances.

6. Provide Supporting Documents:

Upload required documents as specified in the application form.

7. Public Notices:

For certain licences, you may need to post public notices at your premises and in local newspapers.

8. Assessment and Review:

The VCGLR will review your application, considering location suitability, RSA practices, and public objections if any.

9. Inspection and Interview:

VCGLR may conduct site inspections and interviews to ensure compliance.

10. Decision and Issuance:

If approved, the VCGLR will issue your liquor licence with specific conditions and trading hours.

11. Compliance and Renewal:

Maintain ongoing compliance with licensing regulations and conditions. Liquor licences usually require annual renewal.

A Planning Consultant can help you with your Liquor Licence application.

Sounds a bit complicated right? That is because obtaining a liquor licence is a complex process, and rightly so, there is great importance placed on the responsible serving of alcohol. 

To ensure a smooth application and compliance, consider seeking support from a qualified Planning Consultant like AS Planning. Their expertise can save you time, navigate regulations, and help you obtain your liquor licence more efficiently. Contact us today.

Essential Permits & Approvals for opening a new or franchised Restaurant, Cafe or other hospitality business - Picture of the interior of a restaurant with tables and seats, and plates and cutlery laid out on tables.

Are you planning to open a Restaurant or Cafe in Melbourne or Victoria? Congratulations on your exciting venture! 

To help you get started, we’ve put together a checklist of essential permits and approvals you’ll likely need before you can start serving customers. Keep in mind that specific requirements may vary based on your location and the nature of your hospitality business.

**The below content is not planning advice**

8 permits and approvals that may be be required when opening a new Restaurant or Cafe in Melbourne or Victoria:

1. Planning Permit

You should begin by contacting your local Council or a Town Planning consultant to see whether you need to obtain a planning permit. If a planning permit is required from your local Council, you will need to receive this prior to operating. Possible permit triggers for a restaurant or cafe (commonly referred to as a ‘food and drink premises’) include:

  • Use and/or development of land based on the zoning and any overlays that cover the property.
  • Car parking reduction if you can’t provide all of your required car spaces on site.
  • Business identification signage and other types of signage.
  • Serving of liquor and the need for a red line plan.

Depending on the proposal and permit triggers, technical reports may be required such as traffic reports, acoustic reports, waste management plans, etc.

2. Building Permit

If your plans involve structural changes or renovations, securing a Building Permit is crucial. This permit ensures that your restaurant meets construction and safety standards. This is done through a private Building Surveyor, however some local Council’s still offer the service too.

3. Food Act Registration

To operate a food business, including franchise restaurants, you must register with the local Council. Compliance with food safety and hygiene regulations is a must. 

4. Liquor License

If your restaurant intends to serve alcohol, obtaining a liquor license is necessary. The type of license required may vary based on the extent of your alcohol service.

5. Outdoor Dining Permit

If you plan to offer outdoor seating for your restaurant, you’ll need to secure an outdoor dining permit. These permits often have specific requirements that vary by council, focusing on safety and compliance.

6. Occupancy Permit

Before opening for business, ensure that your restaurant or cafe complies with Building Regulations for public safety. An occupancy permit may be required.

7. Music License

If your franchise restaurant will play music, you may need to obtain the necessary music license. The type of licensing depends on the music’s nature and your establishment’s size.

Both your local Council and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of Victoria can provide advice on music and noise requirements.

8. Health and Safety Compliance

Your restaurant will need to adhere to health and safety regulations, including fire safety and accessibility, as well as maintain workplace safety standards.

WorkSafe Victoria can provide advice on health and safety protocols within the workplace.

Whether you’re opening an independent restaurant or you have licensed a new franchise location, this checklist is a helpful starting point. 

A Planning Consultant can help you prepare a permit application for your restaurant.

Navigating the permit and approval process can be complex, and it’s crucial to ensure that your business complies with all relevant regulations. 

We strongly recommend seeking support from a qualified Planning Consultant like AS Planning who can provide expert guidance, help you with the application process, and ensure a smooth opening for your restaurant, franchise or cafe. Their expertise can save you time and ensure a successful launch. Contact us today

Remember, early engagement with your local Council is key to a successful start. Each step in this checklist brings you one step closer to realising your dream of running a restaurant. Best of luck with your new business venture!

Planning Permits for Manufacturing & Processing Facilities - Picture of the inside of a factory with complex assembly line of machines.

Exciting news for some manufacturing businesses! As of November 2023, the Industry Growth Program announced applications for funding were open to SMEs and Start Ups within the National Reconstruction Fund priority areas. Eligible businesses can now apply for funding to help commercialise innovative manufacturing ideas and grow their businesses. For some of these businesses, it may mean setting up a new manufacturing facility.

Fitting out or constructing a purpose built manufacturing facility in Victoria can involve a number of approvals, including a planning permit.

Requirements can vary depending on your specific location, the scale of your operation and the type of products you are manufacturing, it is always best to check specific requirements with your local Council and a Planning Consultant like AS Planning

**The below list is not planning advice.**

Here is a list of 7 common planning considerations for Manufacturing & Processing Facilities in Victoria:

1. Planning Zones: 

In Victoria, the Planning Scheme designates different zones for different types of land use. You would typically need to ensure that your chosen location is zoned appropriately for manufacturing activities, with Industrial zoning generally being the most appropriate. It’s essential to ensure that the zoning of the location for your manufacturing and processing facility is accommodating of the use, and that the location is strongly supported by relevant policy and legislation within the local Planning Scheme.

2. Planning Overlays:

In addition to zoning, land may also be covered by additional overlays. These can involve additional permit triggers and policy for a specific site or region. Examples of overlays are Heritage Overlays, Environmental Overlays, Flooding Overlays and Built Form Overlays. If the location of your Manufacturing and Processing facility is affected by overlays it can have significant consequences for your business and any proposed development.

3. Environmental Impact Assessment: 

Manufacturing products may involve handling chemicals or producing waste materials, which may trigger certain planning requirements around ‘uses with adverse amenity potential’. You may need an environmental impact assessment to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, generally set by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

4. Business Identification Signage and Advertising: 

If your business involves external signage or advertising, you’ll need to consider the signage policies and regulations outlined in the local Planning Scheme. Different areas have different restrictions on signage depending on the location and surrounding neighbourhood character. 

5. Parking and Traffic Impact Assessment: 

Your Manufacturing and Processing facility may require a car parking reduction (if you can’t provide all required car spaces on site), or may generate increased traffic within the local road network. These are both important planning considerations that the local Council will assess. A traffic impact assessment may be necessary from a Traffic Engineer to justify these elements of your business.

6. Waste Management and Recycling: 

Manufacturing processes often generate waste materials. You’ll need to address waste management and recycling requirements outlined in the local Planning Scheme, including methods of waste collection. A Waste Management Plan may be required by Council to justify the waste related processes of your business.

7. Vegetation Removal: 

If vegetation is required to be removed to allow for a new Manufacturing and Processing facility, this could trigger the need for a planning permit, depending on a number of factors such as species of tree, size of the property, overlays on the property, etc. An Arborist Report and Native Vegetation Assessment may be necessary if a permit is required for vegetation removal.

Other approvals and considerations for Manufacturing & Processing Facilities in Victoria:

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage: 

If your manufacturing facility is located in an area with Aboriginal cultural significance, you may need to comply with requirements that protect the cultural and historical aspects of the area, per the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. This could involve undertaking a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) which needs to be completed before a Planning Permit can be issued.

Building Permit: 

Depending on the scale of your manufacturing facility, you may need a building permit to ensure that the construction and design of your facility comply with building regulations and safety standards. This is typically governed by the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2018.

Accessibility and Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) Compliance: 

Ensure that your manufacturing facility meets accessibility standards outlined in the DDA to accommodate individuals with disabilities.

To determine the specific planning permits and requirements for your new manufacturing business, it’s crucial to consult with your local council and engage a planning consultant familiar with the Victorian Planning Provisions and Planning Schemes. 

AS Planning can provide tailored guidance and ensure that you meet all necessary permits and compliance standards for your specific location and operations. Contact us today.

Navigating the planning permit process can be daunting, but for those looking to expedite the process, VicSmart offers a streamlined alternative. AS Planning will guide you through the steps of applying for a VicSmart planning permit, highlighting the value of engaging a planning consultant in this efficient approach.

What are VicSmart Planning Permits?

VicSmart is a planning permit process in the state of Victoria. It is designed for straightforward and low-impact planning permit applications. It’s particularly useful for minor developments such as renovations, small extensions, or change of land use, making it an ideal choice for homeowners and small businesses. 

Not all straightforward applications are eligible for the VicSmart process, but rather must meet certain criteria as set out in the Victorian Planning Provisions. Talk to us today to find out if your project is eligible. 

So why do I need a Planning Consultant when using VicSmart?

Engaging a planning consultant can significantly simplify the VicSmart application process. Planning consultants are experts in navigating the intricacies of planning regulations and can ensure your application is complete and compliant with VicSmart requirements. 

Steps to Apply for a VicSmart Planning Permit:

1. Determine Eligibility:

First, assess whether your project qualifies for VicSmart. This typically involves projects with minimal environmental or community impact. Your local Council or a Planning Consultant such as AS Planning can assist with determining eligibility.

2. Pre-Application Consultation:

Consider consulting a planning consultant like AS Planning at this stage to discuss your project’s specifics and receive expert planning advice on the application process.

3. Complete the Application Form:

Gather all necessary documents and information, which can include plans, reports, a copy of title and the completed VicSmart application form available on the VicSmart website.

4. Lodge the Application:

Submit your application, along with the required fee, to your local Council. Remember that a well-prepared application, guided by a planning consultant, can lead to a faster approval.

5. Council Assessment:

Council will assess your application, typically within 10 business days. During this time, they may request additional information or modifications. A  planning consultant can help you respond to Council. 

6. Decision:

Once Council is satisfied with your application, they will issue a decision, which may include conditions or requirements.

7. Appeals:

If you disagree with Council’s decision, you have the right to appeal through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). A planning consultant can also assist with this process.

What are the benefits of applying for a VicSmart Planning Permit with a Planning Consultant?


Planning consultants can expedite the application process, reducing wait times for approvals.


Their knowledge ensures compliance with local policies and regulations, minimising the risk of delays or refusals from Council.

Peace of Mind:

With a planning consultant by your side, you can navigate the process with confidence, knowing you have expert guidance.

Applying for a VicSmart planning permit in Victoria doesn’t have to be a complex ordeal. 

By following the outlined steps and enlisting the assistance of a planning consultant, you can simplify the process and increase your chances of a smooth and speedy approval. Whether you’re a homeowner planning renovations or a business owner seeking a change of land use, VicSmart can be your friend when it comes to achieving your goals efficiently.

Contact us for assistance with your VicSmart Planning Permit application.

For detailed information and resources, visit the official VicSmart website.