Changing or Relocating a Business

If the last use of the premises in which you intend to commence business was an approved use you may be able to use the premises without needing to obtain approval.  Provided a previous occupier of the premises obtained 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.
  • Shop to shop.
  • Wholesale supplies to wholesale supplies.
  • 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 and there is no record of any previous approvals for the shop.  Do I need approval?"

Yes. You will need approval in the form of either a Complying Development Certificate or a Development Application for the new use and any proposed fit out works.

"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?"

Approval is not usually required for a change of use from an office to a retail use.


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 approval (unless taking over the operation of an existing business of the same nature that has already obtained approval).

You will also need 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 either a Complying Development Certificate or a 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 approval

If approval is needed, either a Complying Development Certificate or a Development Application will need to be lodged. The application forms include 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. 

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 20 days provided all the required information is lodged.

Is approval guaranteed?

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


Address: ,

More information




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