Opening and operating a shop

If you would like to set up a shop, use this page to find out if your project needs planning approval.


Brisbane City Plan 2014 (City Plan) defines a shop as 'the use of premises for the display, sale or hire of goods or the provision of personal services or betting to the public'. Examples of shops include:

  • hairdresser
  • liquor store
  • department store
  • discount department store
  • discount variety store
  • betting agency
  • supermarket
  • corner store.

A shop does not include the following activities, which are all separately defined in City Plan:

Preferred locations

City Plan encourages shop uses to locate in Centre zones (Principal centre zone, Major centre zone, District centre zone or Neighbourhood centre zone).

Shops are also encouraged in commercial character buildings.

Planning approval

Not all shops need Brisbane City Council approval. To determine if your proposal requires Council approval, you can phone 07 3403 8888 to speak to a Town Planner. 

If a development application is not required, this is proof that you have established your business lawfully. If the nature of your business changes over time (e.g. you change the way you operate), you may need to reconfirm whether a development approval is required.

Building approval

Building approval is separate from planning approval. Licensed private building certifiers or building consultants can provide advice regarding:

  • building work for an existing shop or a new shop
  • if any building approval is required.

You can find private building certifiers and building consultants using the Queensland Building and Construction Commission's website.

Other approvals to consider

More information

If your proposed shop requires planning approval, or your property is located within a neighbourhood plan area or overlay area, contact Council's Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263) for advice specific to your situation.

Last updated: 31 August 2020

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