Thinking of building something new?

You may need a planning approval as well as a building licence. Planning approval is required for most things. There are a few exceptions. These exceptions may include:

  • Single house on residential zoned land – subject to complying with setbacks;
  • Sheds on residential land – subject to house being in place and complying with floor area limits;
  • Single house on Agricultural zoned land – subject to complying with setbacks; and
  • Sheds on Agricultural zoned land – subject to complying with setbacks.

Some other exemptions may exist. However, it is advisable to talk to the Shire’s Planning Department to find out.

Planning application forms are available here

Thinking of starting up a new business?

You may need a planning approval for changing the use of your land or building. It is suggested you contact the Shire’s Planning Department to find out.

Planning application forms are available here

Thinking of subdividing your land?

Subdivision applications need to be lodged with the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC). Information on processes, information required to support your application, timing and costs are available on their website here

The Shire is involved in the subdivision process. The WAPC when receiving a subdivision application will refer the application for comments to a wide range of government departments. This includes the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup. The Shire has 42 days to provide town planning advice to the WAPC. The WAPC is required to consider this advice when making a decision.

The town planning advice provided by the Shire will be based on the requirements of the land’s zoning. Zoning information is available in the Shire’s Local Planning Scheme No.7.

If you would like to know about town planning rules that apply to your land, please contact the Shire’s Planning Department.

What is a Planning Approval?

A planning approval is a decision issued by Council under its Local Planning Scheme No.7. The Local Planning Scheme No.7 guides and controls land use and development activity within the Shire. It sets out the rules about different zonings and what is and is not permitted within each zone.

A planning approval, when issued, shows that Council supports your ideas and plans. It gives you certainty that you can proceed to the next step of the approval process.

Getting a planning approval does not mean you can start works on your site. It is usually the first stage in the approval process. Once planning approval is issued, it is then possible to get Health and Building approvals.

If you are uncertain on how to proceed, please contact the Shire’s Planning Department.

What is the purpose of a planning approval?

At its very heart, a planning approval is issued to help neighbours get on. It is to ensure any new development won’t look out of place and any business activity will not create conflict. Planning approvals can place conditions on approvals to make proposals more acceptable.

How are decisions made?

Local Planning Scheme No.7 provides Council with the power to make planning decisions. Clause 10.2 lists the matters which Council is required to consider when making a decision.

In general terms, when making a decision, Council is required to have regard to the zoning of the land and the land use table. The land use table lists a range of land uses and includes a designation against all the zones. The designation ranges from:

  • “P” (Permitted) as a right
  • “D” or “A” (Discretionary); or
  • “X” (not permitted).

Discretionary uses require Council to think about the proposal. It may approve, approve with conditions or refuse the proposal. A land use with an “A” designation requires Council to advertise the proposal for neighbour comment.

In applying its discretion, Council needs to think about the intent of the zone and how the proposal will impact on the surrounding area.

Local Planning Scheme No.7 contains a number of zones. Each zone outlines a number of goals, objectives and intents. There are also a number of more specific controls for each zone. This may include defining lot sizes, building setbacks, car parking requirements, building design elements….

Local Planning Scheme No.7 also lists a number of general provisions. These provisions cover a wide range of matters. They include, tree planting, groundwater, flood risk land, height and appearance of buildings….

It is possible to view Local Planning Scheme No.7 to see all the points that Council needs to consider.

What if I don’t like the decision I get?

If Council uses any discretion in making a planning decision, there is likely to be a right of review. This comes in two forms. Firstly, there is a right for reconsideration. This must be made within 28 days of the decision. A “reconsideration” should include additional information or revisions to the proposal that will help Council consider the application differently.

The second form is a “Right of Review”. This is an appeal right and is made to the State Administrative Tribunal. Any “Right of Review” must be made within 28 days of the decision.

More information can be seen at their website here

Helpful documents from their website for understanding the process and forms can be viewed at the following links.

Introduction to the State Administrative Tribunal

Mediation Information Sheet