Changing or Relocating a Business

If the last use of the premises in which you intent to commence business was an approved use you may be able to use the premises without needing to obtain council approval.  Provided a previous occupier of the premises obtained council approval for the use of the premises, the approved use can be changed to another use without approval.

You will however, need to comply with any conditions of consent that apply to the previously approved use relating to hours of operation, car parking, vehicular movement, traffic generation, landscaping or waste management.

Business changes that do not need approval

The state government's SEPP allows certain uses to be changed without consent.

Some examples are a change from:

  • Business to business.
  • Business to office.
  • Office to office.
  • Office to business.
  • Retail to retail.
  • Bulky goods to bulky goods.
  • Light industry to light industry.
  • Warehouse to warehouse.
  • Light industry to warehouse.
  • Warehouse to light industry.

These uses are defined in the state government legislation and some restrictions apply.

Example scenarios

"I want to start a business selling women's clothes.  The previous use of the premises was a book shop and it was approved by council.  Do I need council approval?"

Council approval is not required.

"I want to start a business selling musical instruments.  The previous use of the premises was a shoe shop but it was never approved by council and there is no record of any previous approvals for a shop.  Do I need council approval?"

Yes. You will need to obtain development consent from council before you start fitting out the premises.  Depending on the extent of physical changes you want to make you may also need a Construction Certificate.

"I want to start a business selling stationery and office products.  The last approved use was a solicitor's office.  Do I need council approval?"

Yes. A change from office to retail premises is not permitted without consent (office to retail).  You need to lodge a development application with council.


If your business is a cafe, take away good shop, restaurant, beauty salon or hair dressing salon, or involves skin penetration procedures you will need to get council approval (unless taking over the operation of an existing business of the same nature that has already obtained council approval).

You will also need council approval if the change of use of the premises involves a change in the classification of the building under the Building Code of Australia.  If in doubt you should consult a qualified building consultant.

What if the premises are brand new?

If the premises are new and have not been previously occupied, you will need to obtain development consent to use it for any purposes (unless the approval for the erection of the building included an approval for the specific use you are undertaking).

Getting council approval

If approval is needed, lodge a development application.  The application form includes details of the information required to support your application (such as plans showing how the proposed layout of the premises and location of fixtures such as sinks, tables, counters etc).

You will need to get the consent of the owner of the property to lodge your application. 

In some circumstances an approval to change a use may be granted by an accredited certifier who may issue a Complying Development Certificate.

How long will approval take?

Council recognises the benefits that small businesses provide to the Shire's economy and 'change of use' applications are given priority.  Some types of business applications can be determined within 10 days provided all the required information is submitted.

If approval guaranteed?

Council staff will assess the application based on the zoning of the premises based on the LEP.  The proposed use must be permissible in the zone.  You can check the zoning of the premises before submitting a development application.

When deciding whether to grant approval, council will take into consideration a number of things including parking requirements, hours of operation, suitability of the premises for the proposed use and likely impacts on the surrounding environment.

Still need help?

Council has planning staff on duty at the Customer Service Centre.  No appointment is necessary.  If you wish to speak to a duty officer on the phone call 9710 0333.


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