Pre Lodgement Meetings

Local governments in South East Queensland offer a pre-lodgement service where you can discuss in person or over video call a development proposal prior to lodging a formal application.

Are they a good idea though?

There are a couple of things I’d like people to know about attending pre-lodgement meetings with Council.

First of all, they can be a fantastic service that can save you both time and money!

A lot of Council’s in South East Queensland don’t even charge for pre-lodgement meetings with the bigger (user pays system) still allowing you to obtain a meeting for a relatively low cost.

This service is perfect for those wanting to discuss development opportunities on a site that has a few constraints that you believe can be overcome but you don’t want to commit to a full development application yet. It is also a great service for those who want to get to know the Council processes and be able to get in there and see how it all works.

Some Council’s will work with you to find an acceptable development solution that you can proceed with or give you a clear yes/no response to your proposal.

It is important to understand that some Council’s offer a better pre-lodgement service than others though and the following points should be taken into account:

⚠ Advice should be taken with the caution that a full development assessment has not been undertaken by Council officers so ‘things’ can change during the formal assessment process
⚠ Councils will sometimes have a clause in their meeting minutes confirming that they are not held to comments made in the meeting
⚠ Just like you would use pre-lodgement meeting minutes in your application, Council can use them also during the formal assessment process.

It is our opinion from experience that it is more efficient to speak to a private town planner and obtain their advice on whether a pre-lodgement meeting is relevant or necessary for your project.

Tips if you do choose to attend a pre-lodgement meeting

✅ Information about your proposal must be provided at the time of requesting the meeting. The more information you provide Council the more advice you can be given during the meeting.
✅ You can discuss options for development but you must provide these at the time of meeting request to ensure Council have properly considered them.
✅ You can attend pre-lodgement meetings yourself or you can send in your town planner. Our preference is to have the property owner/developer and town planner at the meeting. That way if the application moves forward all parties are well informed.

Do you own a Widow Block?

Widow blocks are present throughout Brisbane and are considered to be a historical relic of World War I.

They are identifiable as a rectangular allotment which has been subdivided diagonally, resulting in two triangular portions.  As a result the rear allotment does not have a street frontage.

But why would anyone want this?

It is said that WWI soldiers split their blocks diagonally, with the rear allotment in their wives’ names preventing them from selling the house whilst they were away.

The other storey is that the Brisbane Lord Mayor of 1940 – 1952 had an aversion to small lots and amalgamated the lots Council had acquired during the great depression due to rate arrears (Credit to: Paul McClelland)

If you own a widow block, also known as a widow splitter, it may be possible to realign these boundaries to achieve two street fronting allotments, which then can be sold!

Talk to your local Council or private town planner for more site specific advice.