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Metro Tunnel

Planning permit applications

On 5 January 2017, new Design and Development Overlays were added to the Melbourne, Port Phillip and Stonnington Planning Schemes to protect the new infrastructure being delivered as part of the Metro Tunnel.

The new overlays mean that a planning permit is now required to undertake certain works in the vicinity of the Metro Tunnel alignment.

What is a Design and Development Overlay?

The new Design and Development Overlay (DDO) within each planning scheme provides an assessment process for the design and construction of certain types of new development. The objective of the DDO is to protect the underground tunnels, stations and other infrastructure during the construction and future operation of the Metro Tunnel.

The DDO will not preclude future development from taking place above or near the tunnels and stations, but rather ensures that development does not adversely affect the project's infrastructure. It also means that developers and decision-makers will consider the underground infrastructure early in designing and delivering future developments.

The proposed DDO was exhibited as a part of a public process. It was reviewed by an independent Inquiry and Advisory Committee assessing the project's Environment Effects Statement, prior to being approved by the Minister for Planning and gazetted.

Is my property affected?

The following maps were added to the Planning Schemes of City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip and City of Stonnington. The maps show the boundaries of the DDO, where planning permission is required.

To see if your property is affected, view the attached maps and check whether your property is fully or partly covered by the DDO:

Alternatively, visit Planning Maps Online, input your property address to the left of the screen, click search. When the property is identified, click 'Get Report' (top left), then 'Create Planning Property Report' to see if the Metro Tunnel DDO is an overlay that affects your property.

Do I require a planning permit?

Undertaking the following building works within the DDO area requires a planning permit:

  • Demolish or remove a building or works that are more than two storeys or include a basement of more than one storey.
  • A new building if it is:
    • more than two storeys; or
    • with a basement; or
    • with a footing founded more than two metres below Surface Level.
  • A temporary structure of more than one storey.
  • Earthworks or excavation that change the Surface Level by more than one metre.
  • A pole, sign or retaining wall if any footing is founded more than two metres below Surface Level.
  • An underground utility if any trench is more than two metres below Surface Level.
  • Internal and external alterations to a building if there are works below Surface Level.
  • Tramway works if any earthworks change the surface level by more than one metre or works are more than two metres below Surface Level.
  • Road works if any earthworks change the Surface Level by more than one metre or works are more than two metres below Surface Level.
  • A rainwater tank with a capacity of more than 4,500 litres if there are works below Surface Level.
  • A domestic swimming pool or spa and associated mechanical and safety equipment associated with one dwelling on a lot if there are works below Surface Level.
  • Any works necessary to prevent soil erosion, or to ensure soil conservation or reclamation, if any earthworks change the Surface Level by more than one metre or works are more than two metres below Surface Level.

If your property is affected by the DDO and you intend to carry out building works listed above then a planning permit is required prior to works being undertaken.

Assessment of planning application

Generally you must apply to your local Council (Melbourne, Port Phillip or Stonnington) for planning permission.

These applications must be assessed by Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA) to make sure that the Metro Tunnel infrastructure is not adversely impacted by the development.

When a planning application is made to the local Council it will be referred to MMRA for review and a decision will not be made until this review has been undertaken.

Advice / Pre-Planning Approval

If you intend to construct a building or carry out works on land affected by the DDO, it is recommended that you contact MMRA on the details provided below.

If the proposal requires a planning permit, it is possible for MMRA to provide an assessment prior to a planning application being lodged at Council.

MMRA strongly supports this 'pre-approval' approach as it gives certainty to the applicant, MMRA and the Council. It would also exempt the need for a review by MMRA as part of the planning permit assessment and may result in a planning decision sooner.

More information

If you would like to have a pre-applications meeting or have any questions, please contact us: