Development control and operational policies

Development control and operational polices guide decision making in relation to subdivision and development applications.


1.1 Subdivision of land - general principles

This policy sets out the general principles, which will be used by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) in determining applications for the subdivision of land.

It indicates the WAPC’s basic requirements for the creation of new lots as well as the procedures it will follow in processing subdivision applications.

1.2 Development control - general principles

This policy deals with the planning considerations and general principles used by the WAPC in its determination of applications for approval to commence development on land the subject of the Metropolitan Region Scheme (MRS), Peel Region Scheme (PRS) and Greater Bunbury Region Scheme (GBRS). The context for this policy is provided by Statement of Planning Policy No.1 State Planning Framework and the State Planning Policy.

The policy states in plain terms the development requirements in respect of land the subject of the relevant region schemes as well as the procedures that are followed for submitting an application for approval to commence development for determination by the WAPC.

1.3 Strata titles

This policy deals with those classes of strata title proposals which require the approval of the WAPC and sets out the criteria to be used in the determination of applications for that approval.

It does not apply to all strata title proposals, many of which are now exempt from the need for the WAPC's approval.

On 9 June 2009, the WAPC delegated to local government built strata titles applications submitted under section 25 of the Strata Titles Act 1985. Further details can be found within planning bulletin 52/2009.

1.5 Bicycle planning

This policy describes the planning considerations which should be taken into account in order to improve the safety and convenience of cycling.

The objectives of this policy to:

  • make cycling safer and more convenient through the provision of end-of-trip facilities and by the provision of better cycle route networks
  • ensure that the needs of cyclists are recognised and provided for by planning and road construction authorities
  • encourage more work, school and shopping trips to be made by bicycle through the provision of more (and better) cycling facilities
  • increase the general awareness of the benefits of cycling
  • ensure adequate consideration is given to the provision of cycling facilities in planning studies and in the implementation of statutory planning controls.
1.6 Planning to support transit use and development

This policy seeks to maximise the benefits to the community of an effective and well used public transit system by promoting planning and development outcomes that will support and sustain public transport use.

This policy applies to all areas of the state, within transit precincts as defined under the policy, and is intended to inform government agencies, local government, landowners and prospective developers of the policy approach which will be applied by the WAPC.

The department is committed to encouraging the use of transit oriented development principles to link land use and public transport across Perth.

1.7 General road planning

This policy brings together in one document all those policies of the WAPC which are not included in the residential road planning policy and apply generally to the planning of all roads.

Consistent with the approach taken in the residential road planning policy, this policy also refers to the functional road classification system established in functional road classification for planning.

1.8 Canal estates and artificial waterway developments

This policy facilitates long term sustainability of canal estates and artificial waterways in Western Australia.

It explains the approval process and provides guidance for design, water quality management, implementation and ongoing long term management and maintenance.

The roles and responsibilities of related state government agencies and local government are explained in the policy.

Specific enquiry for technical details should be clarified with the particular agency and/or local government listed in Appendix 3.

1.9 Amendment to region schemes

The Planning and Development Act 2005 (PD Act) provides two procedures by which region schemes may be amended (part 4). The first follows the procedures observed when preparing a scheme itself, involving among other things, approval by the Governor and tabling in both Houses of Parliament where motions to disallow the amendment may be passed (section 35). This is referred to as a 'substantial' or 'major' amendment.

The second procedure involves matters which in the opinion of the WAPC do not involve a substantial alteration to the scheme and are referred to as 'non-substantial' or 'minor' amendments (section 57). The terms 'major' and 'minor' will be used in this policy for convenience.

1.10 Freeway services centres, roadhouses incl signage

The policy outlines the location and design measures related to the establishment of freeway service centres and roadhouses throughout the State.

It addresses the visual impacts of signage and provides details of acceptable facilities and services.

The policy reflects the wider freeway network and the changing road user environment, including greater general and freight traffic, and proposed changes to the Main Roads Act 1930.

This policy replaces Development Control Policy 1.10: Location and Design of Freeway Service Centres (2001).


2.2 Residential subdivision

The WAPC has finalised an update to its Residential Subdivision Development Control Policy (DCP 2.2). This followed a public consultation period including 44 written submissions.

This policy sets out the WAPC’s requirements for landowners intending to subdivide residential land. It assists to create a diversity of lot and housing types throughout the State.

The policy allows consideration of variations to average lot size greater than five per cent for corner lots only.

The policy is not to be used to circumvent the R-Coding of land to facilitate subdivision and increased density not intended under local planning frameworks.

Nested subdivision proposals involve the inclusion of two or more original/parent lots and/or minor boundary adjustments between them to achieve the average lot size requirement. Staged or successive subdivision proposals involve the creation of one minimum sized lot under separate subdivision applications in order to obtain increased lot yield.

Nested and staged/successive subdivision proposals are not generally supported.

The WAPC may require lot reconfiguration to facilitate retention of significant trees and mature vegetation.

State planning policy 3.1 - residential design codes

2.3 Public open space in residential areas

The basic component of this policy is the requirement that 10 per cent of the gross subdivisible area of a conditional subdivision shall be given up free of cost by the subdivider for public open space.

This has been the basis of public open space policy in the state for many years, and emanates from the recommendations of the Plan for the Metropolitan Region Perth and Fremantle.

2.4 School sites

This policy statement contains the WAPC’s general requirements for school and TAFE college sites in residential areas and recognises the need to consider any requirements for higher education facilities.

It should be used during the preparation of designs for the subdivision of residential land at both the structure planning (district and local structure planning) and subdivision design stages.

2.5 Special residential zones

This policy sets out the requirements of the WAPC for the creation of special residential zones in terms of location, internal design and servicing, and statutory provisions.

The purpose of special residential zones is to allow for lots of a size which will offer a style of spacious living at densities lower than those characteristic of traditional single residential developments but higher than those found in special rural zones. 

2.6 Residential road planning

This policy sets out the WAPC's requirements for the planning and design of roads in residential areas and provides guidelines for the design and layout of residential roads.

The policy has been prepared with particular reference to the quality of the neighbourhood environment and the cost of housing. It offers a response to these issues in terms of road planning and design.


3.4 Subdivision of rural land

This policy sets out the principles that will be used by the WAPC in determining applications for the subdivision of rural land. The policy is consistent with the objectives of State Planning Policy 2.5: Rural Planning, which establishes the statewide policy framework for rural land use planning in Western Australia.

This policy supersedes Development Control Policy 3.4: Subdivision of rural land (DC 3.4) (March 2012).

Industrial and commercial

4.1 Industrial subdivision

This policy provides guidance on the matters considered by the WAPC when determining applications for industrial subdivision throughout the state.

These include such matters as the design and shape of industrial lots, road layout, servicing and open space requirements.

4.2 Planning for hazards and safety

The main objective of this policy is to ensure that the planning process addresses exposure of the public to risk from man-made and natural events.

The risk implications of a proposed development should be taken account of and weighed against factors which need to be considered in land use planning.

The policy highlights the principles which will guide the WAPC in its considerations and also identifies the procedures within and associated with the planning process which should be followed to ensure that appropriate considerations and referrals are taken account of.

Land reserved by region schemes

5.1 Regional roads (vehicular access)

This policy sets out the principles to be applied when considering proposals for vehicle access to or from developments abutting regional roads.

It is intended to inform government agencies, local governments and prospective developers of these principles and to act as guidelines for the exercise of development control powers in this regard.

5.3 Use of land reserved for parks, recreation and regional open space

The purpose of this policy is to outline the circumstances under which the WAPC may approve the use and development of land reserved for parks and recreation and regional open space for different purposes.

Specifically where the land is in the ownership of the WAPC. The policy also sets out the procedure for handling requests from sporting club and community groups for the use of reserved land.

5.4 Advertising on reserved land

This policy sets out the objectives and considerations taken into account by the WAPC in determining applications for the display of advertisements on land reserved under a region scheme.

The erection, alteration and extension of any advertisement on land reserved by a region scheme requires the approval of the WAPC.

Draft policies

Draft development control policies 1.1, 1.2, 1.7, 2.5 and 5.1

The WAPC has sought public comment on proposed changes to the following Development Control policies:

  • Development Control Policy 1.1 Subdivision of land - general principles
  • Development Control Policy 1.2 Development control - general principles
  • Development Control Policy 1.7 General road planning
  • Development Control Policy 2.5 Special Residential zones
  • Development Control Policy 5.1 Regional roads (vehicular access)

The draft updated policies relate to the general principles for subdivision of land and development control as well as general road planning, regional road access and special residential zones.

Submissions closed at 5pm, Friday 23 March 2018.

Draft 4.3 Planning for high-pressure gas pipelines

The WAPC is seeking public comment on the new Development Control Policy 4.3 – Planning for High-Pressure Gas Pipelines (DC 4.3).

It is intended that DC 4.3 will replace Planning Bulletin 87 – High-Pressure Gas Transmission Pipelines in the Perth Metropolitan Region. The documents include:

  • a new Development Control Policy providing guidance for planning near high-pressure gas pipelines across the State at all levels of the planning system
  • draft Guidelines to provide explanatory information in support of DC 4.3 to ensure that the policy is interpreted and implemented correctly and consistently
  • policy trigger distance mapping available at PlanWA.

Together, these documents will ensure that planning and development proposals address high-pressure gas pipelines appropriately and consistently in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

Submissions closed 5pm, Tuesday 28 February 2017.

Page last reviewed 7 December 2018
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