The Victorian Government has introduced exemptions to the Victorian Planning Scheme Clause 52.18 to support the hospitality sector transition to outdoor dining as part of the response to COVID-19.

The exemptions will make it easier for hospitality businesses (including restaurants, cafes, take away food premises, bars and convenience restaurants) to modify their operations on their own properties and public land managers to make land available for outdoor dining without the need to obtain a planning permit, subject to conditions.

What about other local laws and permits?

Local laws still apply, as do Public Health and Food Safety requirements for things like liquor licences, tobacco, COVID-19 social distancing and density requirements.

In Wyndham, permits are required for businesses seeking use of Council-managed land such as footpaths, public car parks, streets or open space, with free, fast-tracked application processes for:

A Building Permit may still be required for any new buildings.

What do these exemptions to the Victorian Planning Scheme include?

These exemptions override any requirement for a Planning Permit or any condition on a permit that has been granted that limits the way land is used (including using car parking areas for outdoor dining), except where:

  • The outdoor consumption of food or drink unreasonably affects the amenity of the neighbourhood;
  • The land is within 30 metres of a residential zone, the outdoor consumption of food or drink between the hours of 10.00pm and 7.00am unless an existing permit allows otherwise or if Council has given consent.
  • The use or development impedes access required by emergency services or for waste collection.

An existing premises can also extend into adjoining land (public or private) during the exemption period without needing a Planning Permit, subject to the same limitations as listed above and below.

Consent from the relevant landowner is required if the adjoining land is in different ownership.

For Council-managed land, a Footpath Trading Permit or Temporary Commercial Use of Outdoor Space Permit is required.

A Planning Permit is also not required to construct a new temporary building associated with an existing premises on their own property, unless any of the following apply:

  • If the property is located in a Heritage Overlay, there are no exemptions for buildings or works on the site.
  • If the building is within a Bushfire Management Overlay, Erosion Management Overlay, Floodway Overlay, Land Subject to Inundation Overlay or Special Building Overlay, consent is required from the relevant authority.
  • Any new temporary building constructed must not be greater than 3.6 metres in height.
  • If the property adjoins a residential zone, no new building can be located within 1 metre of adjacent land in a residential zone that exceeds 1.8 metres in height.

You can check if any of these controls apply to your property by visiting and searching for your address.

A Building Permit may still be required for any new buildings.

These exemptions only apply during the Declared State of Emergency and for 12 months after.

Any changes made to the way an existing premises operates must be reverted back to comply with any permit issued, or any new temporary buildings must be removed from the land before the end of the exemption period.

For more information about these exemptions to the Victorian Planning Scheme visit the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning's planning scheme amendment website.

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