Planning advice services

We recommend seeking advice when you are planning your project. You may seek advice from us, or from an independent development professional.

General planning advice (duty planners)

As a first step, you can get general planning advice from one of our duty planners.

The duty planner can help by explaining:

  • the basic planning controls and policies that affect your property
  • whether your proposal is likely to require formal approval or can be done without consent
  • the controls applying to your property (for example, whether your property is heritage-listed) and the process for applying for approval to carry out the work.

It’s important to note that the duty planner can only provide general advice and therefore cannot:

  • give site-specific advice
  • confirm the land use zone of a property
  • confirm whether a proposed development would be approved or not

Duty planners are available for general planning enquires from Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 4:30pm.

You can lodge a general planning enquiry:

Formal planning advice (Pre-Development Applications)

For larger or more complex projects, you may benefit from seeking formal planning advice prior to lodging your DA with Council. In these cases, we’d recommend you seek Pre-Development Application (Pre-DA) advice from one of our planners.

The purpose of a Pre-DA is to give you advice on how you may need to change your proposal or identify what supporting information you may need to provide, to get an approval. Likewise, if what you’re proposing doesn’t satisfy the relevant planning controls or isn’t suitable for your property, we’ll advise whether to pursue the proposal in a formal DA.

Benefits of a Pre-DA

Although not compulsory, a Pre-DA can identify and resolve issues before you finalise your design concept and lodge a formal DA. If you take our planners’ advice onboard and amend your proposal before submitting a DA, it can help to streamline the DA process by reducing the assessment timeframe.

In addition to resolving issues early, it is important to note that Council is currently only accepting amendments to DAs where they will not disrupt the process of the application. If the required changes are substantial, or you need to provide information that will take a long time to prepare, then you may be requested to withdraw your application, or it may be refused.

Receiving feedback

As part of all Pre-DAs, you will receive a formal advice letter that:

  • provides advice about specific planning controls applying to your property
  • identifies any issues with your proposal and makes recommendations about how it could be amended so that they may be resolved and subsequently a DA may be better supported
  • outlines any other supporting documentation you will need to provide as part of your DA (e.g. Arborist Report, Heritage Impact Statement, etc.)

In addition to the written advice letter, you can choose to have a meeting with our planners to discuss your application in greater detail. Meetings take about 45 minutes and are by appointment only. You’ll be advised of the meeting time and date once you’ve lodged your Pre-DA through our online self-service portal.

Please note that Pre-DA meetings incur an additional fee.

After the Pre-DA

In some cases, we may recommend that you seek further information or a follow-up meeting to further consider complex issues or substantial redesigns.

Alternatively, if the issues can be easily resolved, we may recommend that you make the relevant amendments (if required) to your design and proceed to lodging a formal DA.

Applying for Pre-DA advice

Applications for a Pre-DA can be made via our online self-service portal. Instructions on how to lodge your application can be found on our Lodging applications page.

Lodging applications

There are no minimum documentation requirements. However, the more information you give us, the more informed and helpful our advice will be. We’d recommend that you provide the following (at a minimum):

  • concept architectural plans
  • photos
  • a cover letter explaining your proposed development (particularly if your architectural plans are very basic or in the early phases of design)
  • a list of specific questions you’d like answered (if you have any)

The cost of the service is based on the nature and complexity of the proposal, and whether multiple officers from Council, such as heritage and engineering officers, are likely to be involved. You can request an application fee quote from our duty planners by calling (02) 9392 5000.


Please note that all efforts are made to identify relevant issues and likely concerns with your preliminary proposal. However, the comments and views provided as part of the Pre-DA advice are based only on the plans and information submitted as part of your application. In this regard, views may vary upon review of further detailed information or plans and issues raised in submissions. The Pre-DA advice does not bind Council but aims to provide guidance.

DA information sessions

In addition to the duty planner and Pre-DA advice services, Council's planners run regular lunchtime information sessions to help answer some frequently asked questions.

Topic Dates

 Session 1: Information for neighbours

  • An overview of the DA process
  • Tips on how to prepare a submission
  • What happens to your submission and how it informs the outcome

See link to event here.

  • 28 February 2024
  • 24 April 2024
  • 26 June 2024
  • 28 August 2024
  • 30 October 2024
  • 18 December 2024

 Session 2: Preparing your application

  • A step-by-step guide on the DA process
  • What is important to know before you start designing your proposal
  • How to minimise issues for your DA

See link to event here.

  • 27 March 2024
  • 29 May 2024
  • 31 July 2024
  • 25 September 2024
  • 27 November 2024

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Page last updated: 20 Feb 2024