Your Property Development Team – Using a Town Planning Consultant

What does a town planner do and where does he fit in the property development team?

In this series of articles I’m going to discuss the role of the various consultants that make up the development team and, in my mind, a town planner should be an integral part of your team.

These are professionals with a qualification in town planning or urban planning.lesson help guide key question

Those in private practice have usually been employed by local councils or planning organisations for a number of years.

This is useful because they know the process and understand how the process works from the other side of the counter.

If in the past they may have worked in the municipality in which you are planning to develop a project, they may also know some of the senior staff at the council as well as the elected Councillors.

They should know who is easy to get along with, who is going to be a problem and who is going to require special attention.

There are 4 main ways a town planning consultant will assist you with your project:

1. Give feedback during the design process

I like to get a town planner involved early in the process to view the plans and give an opinion as to their compliance with State Government regulations and local council regulation.

By getting involved early in the piece they will save you considerable cost in major redraws of plans and also considerable time in facilitating the process through the council maze.

2. Write the development application

The town planner will endeavour to pre-empt problems by addressing council’s expectations right from the start.

They will ensure that you lodge all the necessary documentation.

3.  Handle further council requests and objections

Many developers choose to make the town planner the central point for all correspondence with council, its planning officers and any objectors.

Council always request further information and the town planner prepares appropriate responses and advise the architect how to redraft his plans in response to council’s request.

If there are objections your town-planning consultant may prepare appropriate responses and become your advocate arguing the case for your project.

Some councils hold mediation meeting with objectors, the developer and council officers to try and find an acceptable solution to objectors concerns.

The town planner may represent you.

By knowing the planning legislation and the rights of objectors and yourself as the applicant for the permit, they will handle your case on your behalf.

4. Handling your case in the appeals court

If your development hits a snag and ends up in the appeals court (in Victoria called VCAT and in NSW the Land and Environment Court), your planning consultant will become your expert witness.

How to pay your planning consultant

The planning consultant will work on either an hourly rate or a set fee negotiated in advance at the beginning of the project.

Usually they will work for a set fee for preparing the development application and lodging it including any written reports.

This could be in the order of $3,000 to $4,000.

They may then charge an hourly rate to be involved in further negotiations with the council or objectors.

The cost of appearance at an appeals hearing is in the order of $3,500 to $5,000.

Ten questions you should ask your town planner

  1. Which authority/council will make the decision regarding my proposed project?
  2.  What is this council’s attitude towards development projects?Couple meeting real-estate agent to buy property meeting
  3.  What experience do you have with applications to this particular authority?
  4.  Do you recommend a pre-application meeting with the council town planners? Why or why not?
  5.  Do third parties (including neighbours) have a right to object to our proposal? If so do you recommend neighbourhood consultation?
  6.  How long will the Development Application process take?
  7.  Do I have a right of appeal to the council decision?
  8.  Do third parties (including neighbours) have a right to appeal the council’s decision?
  9.  In the event of an appeal, where are the likely costs?
  10. Will there be a need for additional applications to other authorities and at what cost?

Want more of this type of information?

Bryce Yardney


Bryce is a property development specialist, having successfully completed many development projects for Metropole's clients. Initially working as a Project Manager at Metropole since completing his Bachelor of Project Management in 2011, Bryce now acts as a buyers agent for clients, sourcing and evaluating properties with development potential.Visit

'Your Property Development Team – Using a Town Planning Consultant' have 1 comment

  1. October 3, 2015 @ 3:57 am Jason Conferido


    Wonderful idea. I really don’t know if we have town planning consultant here in my country, but after reading this I’m definitely going to try to find out if there’s some. I agree with you that a property development team is necessary and a town planning consultant would really be helpful. Since I’am new in real estate investment business may I ask, aside from the valid questions you have given do you have any tips what I should for when hiring a town planning consultant. You see scams are very rampant here in my country so trust is a luxury we don’t have. Is there any necessary qualifications that I should look for?


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