Planning and development

Providing an integrated service for development applications, assessments and implementations.

Your plan, your say

Shape the development of your shire. Share your feedback on the new local planning strategy and scheme No.8.

COVID-19 Planning Changes

As a response to COVID-19, some land use and temporary works do not require development approval during a declared State of Emergency. The changes came into effect on 3 April 2020.

The new Regulations include provision for the Minister to issue a Notice of Exemption to support the Government’s response to, or recovery from, a State Emergency.

A Notice of Exemption has been issued to provide specific guidance to both proponents and local government on a range of temporary exemptions for certain approvals and requirements within the local planning framework. These exemptions will remain in effect until 90 days after the end of the State of Emergency.

The exemptions remove any barriers within the planning system to ensure flexible and speedy responses to a changing crisis environment, support business and guarantee the provision of essential community services including:

  • medical or health-related facilities required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • truck and logistic companies needing to deliver goods but currently with restricted loading and unloading times
  • businesses seeking to adapt by changing their current approved use
  • restaurants and cafes required to sell takeaway in contravention of current planning conditions
  • people operating their businesses from residential zones
  • parking commercial vehicles on residential properties
  • a blanket two-year extension for all current development approvals
  • businesses needing to change signs
  • temporary workers accommodation.

The above list is a summary only and the complete Notice of exemptions and associated conditions can be found on the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website.

The exemptions generally apply where land use is located in an appropriate zone in accordance with the Scheme, the land is serviced and is not a Heritage protected place. Most of the exemptions require proponents to notify the Shire within 7 days of commencing an exempt use, advising that the use is being undertaken.

We are implementing the exemptions where necessary. The exemptions relate to land uses and temporary works. Standard permanent bricks and mortar developments are still required to follow the normal approval requirements.

Our planning team will maintain a Register that will become useful in May 2023 when the notice and the exemptions start to expire. There could be a number of uses and development that then need to have development approval.

The exemptions generally apply where land use is located in an appropriate zone in accordance with the Scheme, the land is serviced and is not a Heritage protected place.

The exemptions apply to the following subject to meeting specific conditions:

  • Home business
  • Home Occupations
  • Commercial vehicle parking
  • Various forms of industrial development
  • Non- conforming use discontinuous provisions
  • Changes to required advertising of structure plans
  • Advertising of applications is to be via websites only without the need to make plans available at Local Government offices
  • For an approved use or application for development approval, proponents are exempt for the requirement to provide car parking subject to conditions including where the shortfall is 10 parking bays or less.
  • Cash-in lieu payments for non-residential development.

We will maintain a Register of exempted uses and development that has been undertaken. At the moment, the notice and associated exemptions start to expire in May 2023, at which point there could be a number of uses and developments that then need to have development approval.

Control and approval

The approval process

Development assessment is an important way to ensure that the strategic objectives set by Council are achieved through individual planning proposal.

It is recommended that contact is made with the Shire Planning Services Division prior to purchasing land, finalising plans or commenting development. The Shire will endeavour to provide guidance to assist with the assessment process where possible.

Control areas

The purpose of declaring planning control areas is to protect land that has a specific purpose.

The Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) can declare that a planning control area is required to ensure that no development occurs on this land which might prejudice its purpose or its potential reservation in a region planning scheme.

Local area plans

We have plans that apply to specific areas within the shire. These are known as local structure plans, activity centre plans and local development plans.

Local planning schemes

Have your say on our draft local planning scheme No.8. We have two town planning schemes:

Town Planning Scheme No. 3
Town Planning Scheme No. 7

Schemes and strategies

Local planning strategy

Our planning framework that provides the strategic basis for local planning schemes. It sets out future objectives for land-use planning and development and includes a broad framework.

Local planning scheme

Local Planning Scheme is the main tool for achieving a local government’s aims and objectives with respect to the development of its local area. 

Southern Joint Development Assessment Panel

Information and application forms for Development Assessment Panel applications can be obtained from Planning WA Website.

If you’re looking for a document dated 4+ years ago, complete a request with the DPLH using DAPs document request form.


See our Heritage list of important places to the local community. This list provides a record of places that form an important part of the history of the local area.

Each place is allocated a level of significance of ABC or For Information Only, with A being the most significant.

Places in categories A and B form the Shire of Capel’s Heritage List. All category A places are assessed as having exceptional significance to the local government area and have also been included on the State Register of Heritage Places.