The pros & cons of prelodgement

20 March 2019

Before you lodge a Development Application with council you can request a prelodgement meeting, at your cost, to go through your plans or development concept. Some councils still offer a free service whilst for others this can come at some expense. So is it worth your time and money?

Most councils offer this service to help identify early on if there are any potential issues with your development. The idea is that doing so may assist to potentially speed up the assessment process, rather than identifying issues after lodgement and engaging in a back and forth with council to resolve them.

Another benefit is gauging whether a proposal may or may not be supported and under what conditions. Advice provided in these meetings can be verbal or may be delivered as written response depending on its complexity.

Some of the pros of prelodgement include:

  • Early advice to help identify issues before you lodge your application.

  • To try and gauge council support for a development proposal before undertaking the preparation and expense of a development application or prior to reaching terms on a property acquisition.

  • Council have more knowledge about development in the broader area, which may not be widely known and impact your application in an unforeseen way.

  • Council can share current interpretations of planning policy that may influence your application.

  • May save you time and money if you address any issues before you lodge the application.

Some of the cons of prelodgement include:

  • Advice given at a prelodgement meeting is not binding and is not a substitute for a development approval.

  • The advice provided is based on a preliminary desktop assessment in response to specific questions and is not an all encompassing assessment.

  • Highly technical matters are not likely to be discussed in any great detail leaving uncertainty.

  • An indication of support does not guarantee development approval.

  • In some cases, advice can be construed as misleading, open to interpretation and can be personal opinion not held by others in the organisation.

  • Advice can be time damaged and outdated if relied upon later due to continual policy and legislative changes and altered interpretations of policy.

  • Advice provided may not add any value over and above statement of policy facts, which the proponent was already aware of.

Meetings usually take place within a couple of weeks from payment of the fee (where applicable). Fast-tracked meetings can be arranged with some councils if you need to discuss a time sensitive site purchase with them.

A qualified town planner will provide advice as to whether they think a prelodgement meeting would be beneficial for your project. Contact Consult Planning for an obligation free quote via

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to provide accurate information, Consult Planning does not guarantee that this blog article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use. Requirements and standards frequently change so every individual proposal should be thoroughly investigated.