If you objected to a Planning Permit application and Council decides to support it by issuing a Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit, you can lodge an appeal with VCAT.
If you objected to a Planning Permit application, and the applicant lodges an appeal with VCAT, you can choose to become a party to the appeal. This allows you to attend the hearing and support your case.
As an objector, you indicate your intention to participate in the appeal on the Statement of Grounds form, which the applicant will provide to you. You will receive this form as part of an information pack that the applicant sends to objectors after they lodge the appeal.
You must submit the Statement of Grounds form by the date specified otherwise you may not be entitled to become a party to the appeal.
Steps to become a party to the appeal
1. On the Statement of Grounds form, indicate whether you:
- intend to appear at the hearing and present your case, or
- do not intend to participate in the appeal, but wish your Statement of Grounds to be considered.
If you indicate that you do not wish to participate in the appeal, then you will not be made a party and will not receive further correspondence from VCAT or any other party. However, VCAT will consider the matters you raised in your Statement of Grounds when they make their decision.
2. On the Statement of Grounds form, detail the nature of your concerns.
3. Supply a copy of the Statement of Grounds form to:
- VCAT (a fee is applicable - see the VCAT website)
- Planning Permit applicant
Appointing an objector spokesperson
In cases where there are a large number of objectors to an appeal, it can be useful for the objectors to appoint one or more spokespeople to speak on their behalf. This can be an effective approach, particularly if the objectors have many issues in common.
If someone else represents you at the hearing (whether or not they are a party to the appeal), it's important that you either advise VCAT in writing prior to the hearing or ensure the person representing you brings a written authority to the hearing to advise the VCAT member of this.
Lodging a Statement of Grounds when you are not an objector
If you didn't submit your objection to the Planning Permit application prior to Council making a decision, but still wish to lodge a Statement of Grounds, you must request in writing that VCAT make you a party to the appeal.
Whether the objector is made a party to the appeal is at VCAT’s discretion.
Objector participation in failure appeals
The Planning Permit applicant may have lodged a failure appeal if Council didn't make a decision on the application within 60 days. Sometimes a permit applicant may have filed the failure appeal before Council gave notice of the permit application.
In these cases, Council usually notifies the owners and occupiers of the surrounding properties in writing that the permit applicant has lodged an appeal.
If this occurs, the people who would have been given notice of the application by Council will receive information from the permit applicant. This explains the details of the appeal and includes a blank Statement of Grounds that objectors can fill in and lodge with VCAT if they wish to become parties to the appeal.
This means that objectors are not disadvantaged if the applicant has lodged a failure appeal, because they still have the right to participate in the proceedings if they choose.
For more information, contact:
VCAT's Planning and Environment registry staff
Council's Statutory Planning Department
Note that this information does not replace professional town planning or legal advice. VCAT and Statutory Planning can assist with questions, however they are unable to advise whether to lodge an appeal. You can choose to seek your own professional town planning or legal advice before lodging an appeal.