Is your Town Planner a keeper and how to pick a good one.

Is your Town Planner a keeper and how to pick a good one.

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  • Posted by: Phill Whyte

Town Planners are experts in strategizing outcomes for your property or site, seeing if you can actually achieve things like subdivision or adding additional value through development. They strive to get you the best outcome over your site usually in a manner where the endpoint approval allows you to boost your yield.

What is achieved is governed by the constraints and allowances of the respective Town Plan. This is a legal document framing what can and cannot be approved over a parcel of land or current property. On the Gold Coast, this is called ‘City Plan’.

With solid expert Planning advice you can actually navigate your desired outcome.

So how do you know you’ve got a good Town Planner?

A good Town Planner can not only save you potentially thousands with their know-how, but also open up options to you about a site that you didn’t even consider (or Council told you not to bother with).

It’s about knowledge of planning processes, strategy, and relationships to make a site achieve its best outcome and yield for its owner – you! And Town Planners are the makers of this magic to secure a worthy approval.

Saving clients thousands – our case example

On a previous project, savings (of approximately a quarter of a million dollars+) were achieved through an alternate placement of buildings and associated structures. The parcel of land involved several unusual-shaped lots in a AAA location (prime location). Initial designs had the development spread across each of the lots with the focus on a symmetrical outcome. While the client’s intent was respected, an alternate concept was suggested that would still achieve the aesthetic outcome while also allowing one of the lots to be unencumbered. Not only was the development achieved with the same building design, but now, the client also had a separate beachfront block of land as a bonus value-add. As this now superfluous lot didn’t hold any integral elements of the development, it could be sold or capitalised on independently in the future. A great win for the client who was very happy to have got their development approved in due course but also delighted to have maximised the opportunity. City Plan Planning ensures we achieve your site’s best outcome.


Looking at choosing a Town Planner, working with one currently, or wondering whether to return to who you have used previously? Consider these following questions:

  • Do they communicate with you effectively and timely?
  • Do you feel comfortable asking them questions along the way, even if you feel like it’s a repeat question?
  • Do they offer more than one strategy in proceeding?
  • Do they explain any possible (foreseeable) limitations ahead? Do they highlight potential alternates if roadblocks are likely (e.g. Plan B pathways).
  • If roadblocks or concerns arise during application process, do they seem to be your advocate in the situation and make apparent effort to rectify or negotiate through the process ongoing?
  • Do they explain why something is not achievable from the outset and make you comfortable in not wasting your time proceeding with their expertise? (Open disclosure about your chances of securing an approval being considered very low).
  • Do they offer to try and save you money through strategizing options ahead (if possible)?
  • Do they financially consent you in the preliminary stages and warn of approximate foreseeable fees? Do they give you this information in written format as part of their engagement paperwork?
  • Do you feel informed along the process if fees are likely to blow out past written projections? And do you feel comfortable asking as you go about this?
  • Do they seem flexible to work with Professionals that you might prefer, or do they only recommend working with their routine outreach?

The position of a Town Planner in the process of application to Council on your behalf is one that relies on effective and professional communication. They are at the crux of the process and responsible for managing all parties through to the end, keeping you right alongside as it unfolds.

City Plan Planning always strive to be your best advocate to get your best outcome with Council.

City Plan Planning

City Plan Planning is able to assist and help throughout the preparation of your development application to council or if appropriate, State and Federal departments. We will work side by side with your selected consultants or if required we can recommend some of the best in the business, each being selected within their own area of expertise.