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Planning Pre-Application Discussion Service

What is the planning pre-application discussion service?

The planning pre-application discussion service is aimed at providing potential applicants with the opportunity to meet with planning officers to discuss their proposal, identify key areas of concern, and gain an understanding of the planning permit application process.

Planning applicants and agents often request advice on whether a particular proposal is likely to be successful. This is a valuable process because it can identify improvements needed to a scheme prior to submission and can save people submitting applications that have little or no prospect of success.

Whilst the outcome of an application cannot be guaranteed, it is more likely to succeed if it is well prepared, supported by the development plan and properly addresses and responds to relevant issues raised at pre-application stage (by planning officers as well as the local community).  This should also ensure the speedier delivery of decisions, time and cost savings and higher quality developments. 

There are three categories of pre-application proposals; Average, Complex, and Regional/City Significant. Visit the Pre-Application Proposal Categories and Supporting Information Requirements section for more information.

Fees apply for this service. Refer to the Planning Fees and Charges section for more information.

Download Council's Residential Design Guidelines (PDF - 877KB) for information that may assist with preparing your proposal.

How does the service work?

As part of the pre-application discussion service, you will have a meeting with a planning officer to discuss your application. Depending on the complexity of your application, you will receive written feedback within one of the following timeframes:

Average category proposals - a written response will be provided to the applicant within two weeks of the meeting.

Complex and Regional/City Significant category proposals – a written response will be provided to the applicant within four weeks of the meeting.

Written feedback provides an opportunity for the planning application to be amended before lodging with Council.

What advice will I receive? Is it legally binding?

In all cases, officers will be pleased to offer advice, based upon their own professional judgement, however this will not commit Council to a particular decision or outcome.

A Council decision will only be forthcoming once the actual planning application has been lodged and determined. Above all, the Council’s discretion to make the final decision cannot be prejudiced in any way.

What level of planning officer will deal with my proposal?

Average category proposals will generally be handled by a Statutory Planning Officer or Senior Planning Officer, with assistance from other council officers as required.

Complex category proposals will generally be handled by a Statutory Planning Team Leader, with assistance from other council officers as required.

Regional/City Significant category proposals will generally be handled by the Manager Planning and Design, with assistance from other council officers as required.  The Director of City Planning, Design and Amenity can be requested to attend the initial meeting for a proposal of regional / city importance, however all such requests must be directed to the Manager Planning and Design or the Director’s Executive Assistant.

What doesn’t the pre-application discussion service do?

The pre-application discussion service does not apply to existing applications or to applications that are currently being considered by VCAT.

The pre-application discussion service cannot provide a professional consultancy service. The Statutory Planning team is here to assess and make recommendations on your proposals, and advise where your proposal does/does not meet the Planning scheme or Council policy requirements. Officers are not able to offer planning consultancy, design or architectural, traffic, civil engineering services, etc.

Applicants who are unsure about preparing a planning application are advised to consult with an independent, suitably qualified professional. Details of town planning consultants can be found at

How do I make an appointment for a pre-application discussion?

Appointments are held only at the Greater Dandenong Civic Centre, 225 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong during Council business hours.

To access the pre-application discussion service, you must complete a Planning pre-application discussion service request form (Word - 219KB) and submit to Council with all required supporting information and the applicable fee.  If you wish to pay by credit card, please submit your application and you will be sent an invoice which can be paid on Council's online payment portal

Once a valid request and payment has been received, a meeting date will be offered to you.  A pre-application reference number will be assigned and you will be notified of the name of the planning officer who will lead your pre-application meeting.

Can I use the town planning enquiries service to get pre-application advice?

For a very simple proposal or general query, advice can often be given over the phone or at the Planning service counter via the town planning enquiries service

However, for most proposals, a pre-application meeting is beneficial for the applicant and Council. 

Important note and disclaimer

All information and correspondence (including plans, drawings, photos, emails, etc.) that you submit to Council in relation to a pre-application proposal, as well as meeting notes and written feedback, will be held in Council’s Records Document Management System.
Any advice provided at the pre-application meeting is preliminary advice only. Council will attempt to provide clear and concise advice based on the information tabled at the pre-application meeting and the relevant provisions within the Greater Dandenong Planning Scheme. This advice may be impacted by consequential changes to the Greater Dandenong Planning Scheme, the design, further information received, referral advice, site inspection, the public notice process, and any other change of circumstance.