Site Plan sketch - the first design sketch

Site Planning

Andrew Kerrby author page

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Planning for the future

For this particular project it was important to consider the future use of the site, and to resist the temptation to build on the best part of the site. Initially my parents had wanted to buy the land and retire there but have since cooled on the idea. It didn’t make much sense to build a modest one-bedroom shack on the prime location and limit the future potential to build something larger, either a home for my parents to retire to or a home to raise a family.

What can you build?

A planning scheme controls how land may be used in a given area such as within a town or a local council/shire are. A planning scheme may allow for some uses while prohibiting others in certain areas or may allow a certain use but only at council’s discretion.


I confirmed with a planner at the local council what I might be able to build on my site. The site is zoned as Primary Industry – this means its intended use is for farming or the like. However, given the size of the site – only 1.5 hectares and half covered in bush – it would unlikely ever be a profitable farm.


Possible uses for my site allowed for by the local planning scheme include a dwelling (a house), an ancillary unit, and visitor accommodation. More than one dwelling is not allowed – that is usually the case, especially in a rural area. However, an ancillary unit, which is a planning term for what the rest of us would call a granny flat, is allowed.


So I had a few options: build a house, build a granny flat, or build a holiday unit. I didn’t have the money to build a full-scale typical 3 bedroom/2 bathroom house, and I didn’t have the need to – I don’t yet have a family of my own, there is only one of me. I could afford to build an ancillary unit, but it would have to include the essential services such as a kitchen and bathroom if it was to be considered a house. Holiday accommodation wouldn’t be considered permanent enough.


Thankfully the planning scheme permits such things as a change of use. The idea for planning for future use on the site was beginning to take shape. The general concept was to build a house, with the possibility to sometime in the future either build a larger house and convert the initial one into an ancillary unit, or apply for a change of use for it to become a holiday unit.

Site Plan sketch - the first design sketch

Site Plan sketch – the first design sketch

 Keep clear

Often sites have boundary setbacks – how far back from the boundary the planning scheme lets you build. In urban situations you might be allowed to build right up to the boundary; in rural areas you often have to build further away. The boundary setbacks for my site are 20m from the front boundary and 10m from the side and rear.


The following site plan diagram shows the boundary setbacks, access, car parking, trees, and approximate areas or zones for a shack (60k House), future house and possible camp sites.

Site Plan diagram

Site Plan diagram

Disclaimer: Any advice contained within this blog is of a general nature only and cannot be relied upon. Details provided are in good faith and relate specifically to this project. Any author will not be held responsible for advice or information presented.

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