Where do I start? | City of Fremantle

Where do I start?

Development approval (also known as planning approval) and building permits are two separate processes. In most cases both planning approval and a building permit will be required, however, there are some instances when only one is required. When both are required, you must receive planning approval first before you can apply for a building permit.

Planning approval required for most building works and/or when changing the use of a lot (or portion of a lot). A partial list of developments that do not require planning approval can be found in Schedule A of the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 4

If you are looking at undertaking work on your property or changing the use of a site (e.g. shop, office, etc.) and you have questions about whether planning approval is required, please contact the City’s Planning and Development Services on 1300 693 736 or planning@fremantle.wa.gov.au.

When emailing, please include a draft copy of your plans or a rough sketch showing dimensions and where on the lot the proposal will be located (including distances from any boundaries) so that we may better assist you.

A building permit is required for any works of a structural nature and are obtained after planning approval has been issued (if required). Please see the building permits page for more information.

Subdivision approval
is granted by the Western Australian Planning Commission. Please see the subdivision page for more information.

If you have a Lease or Licence with the City of Fremantle and are planning to make any alterations, additions or developments to your leased area (including but not limited to buildings, gardens or parks) please complete either the Commercial and Community or Sport and Recreation Landlord Consent Application Form prior to applying for Planning Approval and/or a Building Permit. 

Go to:

  1. Important things to know about your property
  2. What information is required to lodge a planning application?
  3. How are planning applications assessed?
  4. Useful housing design resources

Important things to know about your property

Prior to proposing a development or change of use there are a few things you should know about your property that will help when making your planning application. These include:

  • What is the zoning and density coding (R-coding) of your property?
  • Are there any important planning policies that apply to the site?
  • Is the property heritage listed or in a heritage area?

Once you know which policies and heritage designations apply to your property, you can find the City’s local planning policies on the policies page. Please note some local planning policies have more specific requirements for certain types of development. For example, the Hilton Garden Suburb Precinct has different requirements for front fences than the rest of Fremantle, and is a heritage area where the demolition of any house requires planning approval.

You can check all of these things by locating your property on the City's mapping system. This information, and more, is included on the 'planning' and 'heritage' modules. 

What information is required to lodge a planning application?

The following information is required to lodge a planning application:

  • a completed Application for development approval
  • Copies of scaled site plans, floor plans and elevations of the proposal - clearly dimensioned and annotated 
  • payment of the application fee
  • a letter or submission justifying the proposal. This should address any variations to legislation or policies.

If you are submitting the application online, all of the relevant forms and documents can be uploaded during the lodgement process.

Additional forms required for signage and liquor licence applications:

For development assessment panel applications see development assessment panel application requirements.

Please note: developments valued over $2 million require an EFT transfer for payment of planning application fees when such fees exceed $10 000. Please contact the City's customer service staff prior to lodging an application.

Planning applications can be lodged online, in person or by mail. To lodge a planning application via our new online portal, please follow the link below: 

How are planning applications assessed?

There are a number of legislative and policy documents that provide criteria that are used to assess planning applications. Some of the most commonly used documents are:

Planning applications are assessed against the requirements set out in the relevant legislation or policies. The City will either approve or refuse an application based on how it meets the legislative requirements. Planning applications may be approved or refused either through delegated authority (meaning certain City officers can make a decision) or by the City of Fremantle Council.

Where a proposal does not meet legislative or policy requirements and has the potential to affect surrounding properties, the City will contact nearby owners and residents to ask for comments on the proposal. Comments received through that process are taken into account when making a decision on the proposal.

Useful housing design resources

The City strongly encourages sustainable, adaptable and energy-efficient design of new homes. The following links are provided to assist property owners in considering the design of new homes or additions to existing homes.

  • Livable Housing Australia (LHA) - a resource dedicated to providing options for universal housing design. Livable Housing Australia (LHA) is a partnership between community and consumer groups, government and industry.
  • Your Home - an Australian Government initiative providing guidance on how to design a home with a reduced impact upon the environment. 


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