WAPC Guidelines and Standards

Click above download the new Guidelines and Standards from the Planning WA Website

The Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) “Structure Plan Preparation Guidelines” and complimentary “Structure Plan Digital Data and Mapping Standards” came into force on the 5th November. The launch is welcomed. It follows many years of internal review by the WAPC. The Guidelines and Standards have a wide application for the public and private sector, including developers, consultants Government agencies and Local Governments and are intended to standardise documentation and streamline the planning system across WA. The new Guidelines apply to Sub-Regional, District, Local and Activity Centre plans.

Improving Speed and Consistency

The improvements aim to speed up and simplify the approvals process and standardisation should provide the private sector with much needed consistency and certainty. One goal of new process is to reduce inconsistencies in the application of the revised structure planning guidelines between WAPC and Local Governments. Local Governments have statutory responsibility for local planning, both strategic and structural. Local planning is essential to provide the strategies and structures for subdivision development. Under the Guidelines, Structure Plans are intended to provide guidance for more detailed plans, rather than provide the detail itself. It is critical therefore that Structure Plans allow for flexibility particularly in relation to subdivision layout, lot configuration, land levels & site works.

Statutory vs. Non-Statutory Structure Plan Components

The Guidelines require the Structure Plan to be separated into two parts, statutory and non–statutory. The Statutory Map in Part 1 should be broad and allow for maximum flexibility. The Map should omit references to lot layout, road reserve widths, carriageway designs, street trees and Public Open Space design. The Guidelines allow the use of density ranges and coding plans for increased flexibility. The Statutory Text in Part 1 must be carefully drafted to ensure the criteria against which development will be assessed is unambiguous yet provides sufficient guidance for the scale and level of the plan. If the structure planning is sound and easy to interpret, it follows that there should be fewer problems at the subdivision or development application stage.

The non–statutory Part 2 of the Structure Plan should include the explanatory information or the justification for the development. In the past the amount and scope of supporting information provided within Structure Plans and requested by Local Governments has varied considerably. The Guidelines provide a template so that the level of detail required is consistent and the information provided is suitable for the various Structure Plan types

Governance, Process and Technical Requirements

The Guidelines and Standards do not address the important and linked matters of governance, process and technical requirements; this will be left to the ongoing WAPC review of the Planning and Development (General Provisions for Local Planning Schemes) Regulations and Liveable Neighbourhoods. It is understood that there will be additional rounds of consultation with the industry during this stage of the planning reform agenda. It is important that this stage of the review is accelerated. In the tight development market, time delays cost money and slow the provision of future homes and employment centres for the expanding population.

To support the intent and successful implementation of the Guidelines and Standards, the review of the Regulations and Liveable Neighbourhoods should include:

  • An appropriate standardisation of time taken for deliberation and approval at State and Local Government level.
  • Advice on planning for and managing infrastructure provision to minimise delays in implementation
  • A requirement to expedite up to date Local Planning Strategies to provide the context for structure plans particularly for large developments
  • A requirement to expedite Government formulated Economic Development and Employment Strategies at subregional and local level as a proactive measure to inform structure planning

More Information

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