Planning FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Common questions and answers relating to urban planning within the Town can be viewed below. If your question is not answered below or if you have further questions, please contact the Town's Planning Services on 9285 5000, lodge an online enquiry, or send an email via town@cottesloe.wa.gov.au.   

Do I still need planning approval during the COVID-19 State of Emergency?

  • A State of Emergency has been declared in response to the global pandemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19). In the event that the Western Australian Government declares a State of Emergency, the Minister for Planning can apply exemptions against local planning schemes under Clause 78H Part 10B of Schedule 2 of the Planning and Amendment (Local Planning Schemes) Amendment Regulations 2020. This includes the Town of Cottesloe Local Planning Scheme No.3

  • The Notice will remain in effect until midnight 1st May 2023.

  • A copy of the Notice and further information is available from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. 

  • Any affected parties seeking to modify or commence their business in accordance with this Notice is required to notify the Town seven days prior to commencing via town@cottesloe.wa.gov.au

  • For further assistance and enquiries about the Notice of Exemption, please contact the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage Reform Delivery Team on (08) 6551 8002 or planningreform@dplh.wa.gov.au.

  • For queries relating to current and proposed local planning applications that may be impacted by the Notice, please contact the Town on 9285 5000 or town@cottesloe.wa.gov.au

What is this property zoned?

  • Land is zoned under the Town of Cottesloe Local Planning Scheme No.3, the map can be viewed here.

  • To view other planning information relating to a property, the Town's interactive mapping service "Intramaps" can be accessed here.  

Can I subdivide this property?

  • All applications for the subdivision and amalgamation of land are submitted to and determined by the Western Australian Planning Commission. The Town is invited to comment whenever such an application is received, but ultimately the decision rests with the state government. More information can be obtained here.

  • Residential-zoned land is subject to minimum lot sizes under State Planning Policy 7.3 – Residential Design Codes of Western Australia. To see what the minimum size for a property is (based on its “R-Code”), view Table 1 of the policy here

What's an "R-Code" / what is the R-Code for this property?

  • “R-Codes” determine the permitted density for residential neighbourhoods. For instance, an area designated “R20” has been designed to cater for up to 20 households per hectare. Each R-Code has its own housing design requirements under State Planning Policy 7.3 – Residential Design Codes of Western Australia which determine the scale and quantity of dwellings in a neighbourhood.

  • The R-Code for a property can be checked via the Town’s Local Planning Scheme No.3 map here

Is this property heritage-listed? / What is the Municipal Inventory and is a property on it always heritage-listed?

  • The Town’s Heritage List can be accessed here.

  • Part 7 of the Town’s Local Planning Scheme outlines information about how properties on the List might be considered as having cultural heritage significance.

  • The Municipal Inventory is a record of all properties within the Town of Cottesloe that are identified as having potential cultural heritage significance and are ranked based on their assessed level of significance. The Municipal Inventory does not have statutory effect, unlike the Heritage List, and not all properties are included on the Heritage List.

Can I rezone this property? How do you rezone land?

The Town generally does not support “spot-rezoning” or individual amendments to its Local Planning Scheme. The Town is currently preparing to review its Local Planning Strategy, which will examine the current demographics and economic, environmental and transport conditions of the Town and respond accordingly to ensure that the Town meets its density targets set by the state government whilst protecting the character, amenity and heritage of the Town. Once the revised Local Planning Strategy has been adopted, a new Local Planning Scheme will be prepared to provide the statutory framework necessary to enact the recommendations of the Strategy. The community will be able to comment and influence this process at each stage of the Strategy review and drafting of the Scheme. More information on the Local Planning Strategy Review can be viewed here.

How do I amend the Local Planning Scheme?

  • Please contact the Town on 9285 5000 to discuss amending the Local Planning Scheme.

  • The Scheme Amendment process is illustrated by the state government Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage here.

I want to start a new business, do I need planning permission?

  • Planning approval is required where a land use is proposed in a zone in which the land use is not permissible (“P”). For instance, land uses designated as “Discretionary” (D) or “Advertising” (“A”) land uses are not permitted unless the Town exercises discretion by granting planning approval after having first given notice where required under the Local Planning Scheme.

  • Home Occupations / Home Businesses require planning approval as an Incidental Use to the Premises (“IP”) prior to commencement.

  • The application for planning approval form and lodgement instructions can be accessed here.

Can I / my neighbour run a Holiday Home from their property?

  • Planning approval is usually required for holiday accommodation, please visit the Town's Holiday Homes page for more information here.

  • Please note that unhosted forms of holiday accommodation such "Short Stay Accommodation" are an "X" Prohibited land use within the Residential zone in the Town. This means that the land use cannot be considered for planning approval in the Residential zone.

Do I need planning approval to replace / modify my fence?

  • Dividing (side boundary and rear boundary) fences are exempt from requiring planning approval as they are governed under the Dividing Fences Act 1961. More information about Dividing Fences can be obtained online from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website here.

  • Planning approval is required for proposals affecting a heritage-listed site, and for discretion against the the Deemed to Comply provisions of State Planning Policy 7.3 – Residential Design Codes of Western Australia ("R-Codes") for where the solid portion height of a fence or wall within the front setback area exceeds 1.2m and / or when any portion of a fence or wall height exceeds 750mm within 1.5m of a driveway, a street corner, and where a Right of Way meets the street. These variations must be supported against the Design Principles in a cover letter with the planning application.

  • Please note that brick Dividing Fences with footings may require a Building Permit from the Town prior to erecting the fence. 

  • You will require permission from your neighbour prior to erecting or modifying a Dividing Fence. If owners of adjoining land are unable to reach an agreement after 21 days, either owner may make an application to the Magistrates Court. Please note that this is entirely separate to the planning process. More information regarding this can be obtained online here.

I wish to make a complaint or report a breach of development compliance

  • Please contact the Town either in writing to PO Box 606, Cottesloe WA 6911, via an online enquiry, or via email to town@cottesloe.wa.gov.au with clear details regarding the location of the offence, photographs, and contact details so that we can get back to you. Please note that the Town cannot act upon anonymous complaints.

  • Prior to contacting the Town formally, customers are encouraged to liaise with their neighbour / the potential offender to see if the issue can be resolved amicably.

  • Complaints pertinent to the planning process typically include unauthorised land uses; stock piling or infill of land without approval (resulting in dust or sand drift); removal of privacy screens / obscure glazing to balconies or windows overlooking a dwelling; and rooftop structures erected without planning approval that are unsightly or cause a nuisance (such as air-conditioning units, satellite dishes, or reflective fixtures).

How long does it take to obtain planning approval?

  • Under the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015, planning applications that do not require community consultation prior to determination are required to be determined within 60 days. Planning applications that do require community consultation are required to be determined within 90 days. Should an application assessment process extend beyond these timeframes without a determination, they are deemed to be refused and there is a right of appeal with the State Administrative Tribunal.

  • Planning applications may take longer than the allotted 60 or 90 days where further information is required in order to assess / support the proposal. When an application is identified as having insufficient information to proceed, the application is issued with a “stop the clock” while the Town continues to liaise with the applicant as necessary.

  • All planning applications are determined in accordance with the Town of Cottesloe Delegated Authority Register. Most planning applications are determined under delegated authority, meaning that determinations are issued by the Town's Planning Services instead of at Ordinary Meetings of Council. Should a planning application be deemed of greater interest to the local and wider community, or the proposal falls outside of the parameters outlined in the Delegated Authority Register, then it will be brought to the next available Council meeting. 

  • To reduce the likelihood of having to stop the clock for further information, applicants are encouraged to contact the Town's Planning Services prior to lodging their application if they are unsure that they have prepared all the information required for the application. The Town's general requirements for a planning application can be viewed here.