Smart Council Insights Series: Banyule City Council Giving Pre-Apps the Green Light



Image by: Sam Laybutt (Ozroads)

Lodging a planning application with local government as a formal two-step process is becoming a more established practice. The first step, known as pre-application or pre-application, allows applicants to create and test their initial design without risks of launching straight into lodging with all of its associated costs.  To facilitate this in a progressive manner, Banyule City Council in Melbourne’s North East has updated to their pre-application process.

Banyule has implemented a colour coded ‘traffic light system’. Utilising this labelling system makes the pre-lodgement process more user friendly as the feedback is easier to read and understand for the private sector planner, developer and others in the development industry.

The lights labels are straight forward. Green gives the ‘go ahead’, Yellow is ‘be wary, there are conditions’, and Red is ‘stop, this is not going to get approved and needs amending’.  Below is the official classification of each colour:

Be aware, if you want to utilise pre-application services there may be fees involved. The cost of this service can depend on the council (councils charge different amounts for this service), on the size of the application (major or minor), on the size of land, and the format of feedback. Applicants can expect to pay for Banyule’s traffic light inspired preliminary assessment.

The choice is up to the applicant whether to skip this first step or not. Doing this step may lead to better development outcomes as it allows applicants more certainty before formal lodgement. It also decreases the risk of wasting money on aspects of a project as the planner and design team are aware of conditions before lodging.

If you choose to go ahead with a preliminary assessment of an application, our team has some 3 tips on receiving more green lights:

  1. Set realistic expectations for development potential

Get to know your lot and work with its’ limits. We can assist with this due diligence.


  1. Get to know your planner and take their advice

Your planner has a wealth of knowledge. Listen to their advice and implement it.


  1. Use objectives in planning scheme to your advantage

Spend some time examining the objectives for each clause of the planning scheme as these are what need to be met. Ultimately, complying with the objectives are the key to having applications approved.

What do you think of pre-lodgement assessment? Is it worth the resources?

Traffic Planning and Waste Management for Better Planning Approvals




We would like to thank everyone who attended our Traffic Planning & Waste Management event last night. It was fantastic to hear from experts Jo Garretty and Adelaide Webster from SALT3. With the everchanging way councils deal with traffic and waste, it was great to hear insights from people who are at the forefront of these important development approval areas. We hope you are feeling more confident and informed about the traffic and waste approval processes required for better planning approval. Thanks again to the great team at SALT3!

Smart City Strategies, Implementation and Development




Smart Planning and Design would like to thank all of those who made our event ‘Smart City Strategies, Implementation and Development’ a success. It was an informative night where we learned what smart cities are, what are the current policies and public and private sector initiatives and how smart cities technologies are being implemented.

Special thanks to our amazing guest speakers Adam Beck, Executive Director of Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand and Jessica Christiansen-Franks, Co-founder and CEO of Neighbourlytics.




澳大利亚房产开发全攻略 – 城市规划师的经验分享| A Guide to the Planning System in Victoria

Watch Urban Planner Chun Guo from Smart Planning and Design share her experience in the planning system. The presentation was given in Chinese to enable all our developer friends and collaborators to understand the planning and development landscape for them to achieve their development goals. Look out for more future seminars and events!

Newcastle Smart City Strategy

Newcastle City Council


Newcastle City Council



The task

To deliver the Strategy we brought together the ‘digital’ and the ‘analogue’ to deliver the optimum outcome for Newcastle.

The outcome

Smart Planning and Design has developed a Smart City Strategy for the City of Newcastle based on a strong evidence base, leading practice and innovation, input from the international ‘Newcastle Smart Cities Reference Panel’, and collaborative engagement with Council, key stakeholders, and the Newcastle community. This Strategy was informed by the Newcastle City Council’s Community Strategic Plan Newcastle 2030, which has a vision for Newcastle to be a smart, liveable and sustainable city. To deliver the Strategy we brought together the ‘digital’ and the ‘analogue’ to deliver the optimum outcome for Newcastle.

Newcastle Smart City Strategy

Newcastle City Council

Firstly, we focused on the ‘digital’ economy and opportunities. We brought our understanding of the new digital landscape together with the desired ‘analogue’ Cultural and Community driven outcomes. We reviewed all in uences across the quadruple bottom line, prioritising inclusion, activation, creatives and the community.

The project team and the international Smart City Reference Panel includes:

• Cred – Smart Consultation Strategies and Implementation • Urban Tide – Smart Cities Roadmaps and Engagement, Digital Technology Planning and Smart Policy Advice • Cogility – IT Architecture Specialists • SMEC – Smart Infrastructure Planning and Development • Integrated Transport Planning – Smart Transport Solutions, Transport Planning and Autonomous Vehicle Research • Hitachi – ICT Hardware, Smart Technology and Equipment

Through this strategy we will transform Newcastle by achieving:

• Smart Economy: Entrepreneurship and innovation, productivity, local and global interconnectivity • Smart People: 21st century education, inclusive society, embrace creativity • Smart Governance: ICT and eGovernance, transparency and open date and enabling supply and demand side policy. • Smart Mobility: Mixed modal access, prioritised clean and non- motorised options, integrated ICT • Smart Environment: Green buildings, green energy, green urban planning • Smart Living: Safe, culturally vibrant and happy, healthy people and places This work has been guided by our Smart Cities Mandala and the Smart Delivery Model.