Design Review Panel and Development Assessment Panel

All major developments over $10 million are automatically referred to our Design Review Panel for review and feedback, and then to the Metro Inner-South Joint Development Assessment Panel for determination. Find out more about the processes below.

City of Melville Design Review Panel

Our Design Review Panel consists of six independent design professionals who review and make recommendations on various development proposals.

In general, the Design Review Panel reviews major developments however they may also review smaller applications where these are complex in nature or are likely to benefit from a design review process. The Design Review Panel also provides advice on:

  • structure plans
  • activity centre plans
  • planning strategies
  • local planning policies
  • local development plans
  • precinct plans
  • design guidelines
  • amendments to the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 6
  • other matters relating to design of buildings and places

The purpose of the panel is to provide independent, expert advice on the design quality of the proposed development to the applicant, City officers, Council and the decision maker, to encourage innovative, high-quality designs that meet the needs of all stakeholders and the community.

Pre-lodgement Assessments

We encourage applicants to discuss their proposal with the Design Review Panel before lodging a planning/development application. Early pre-lodgement discussions can reduce the risks and costs associated with poor design, as any design weaknesses are identified early. It also helps to improve the overall quality of the design and smooth out the development approval process.

We encourage applicants to attend the Design Review Panel meeting in person to make a brief presentation on the key aspects of the proposal, answer any questions and receive feedback. In many cases applications are presented to the Design Review Panel more than once before they are lodged.  Following each meeting, the Design Review Panel will provide the applicant with feedback, using a traffic light system consistent with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage’s Design Review Guide. This demonstrates which design elements have been addressed satisfactorily and which require further consideration.

Contact our planning team to organise a pre-lodgement assessment.

It is often necessary for the proposal to be presented to the Design Review Panel for final endorsement when the development application is lodged. The Design Review Panel is not a decision maker, however its recommendations will be taken into account to assess the proposal.      

For more information about design review panels, download and read the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage’s Design Review Guide and our Local Planning Policy LPP1.2 ‘Design Review Panel’.

Metro Inner-South Joint Development Assessment Panel

The Metro Inner-South Joint Development Assessment Panel covers the local government areas of Belmont, Canning, East Fremantle, Fremantle, Melville, South Perth and Victoria Park, and is one of five Development Assessment Panels (DAP) in Western Australia.

The role of a DAP is to provide consistent, accountable, and professional decision-making on development applications of a certain type and value threshold. Each DAP has five panel members, with three who are specialist members and two who are local government councillors.

The DAP determines development applications as if it were the responsible planning authority, and for developments in City of Melville, refers to the:

Our planning department is required to prepare and provide a Responsible Authority Report to the DAP, which outlines the proposal, the assessment undertaken, a summary of any submissions received, and our recommendation. If the Responsible Authority Report is presented to Council for its information, the minutes of the relevant Council meeting will also be attached to the RAR.

For more information about DAPS, visit the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website. For more information about the process we follow when dealing with a DAP application please refer to Clause 18 of our Local Planning Policy 1.1 ‘Planning Process and Decision Making.’

Applications that get referred to the DAP

All proposed developments that have an estimated construction cost of $10 million or more are referred to the DAP for determination.

Applicants can opt to have their application determined by the DAP if the estimated cost of construction is between $2-10million.

The following types of applications cannot be referred to the DAP for determination:

  • A single house and any associated carport, patio, outbuilding and incidental development
  • Applications for less than 10 grouped or multiple houses and any associated carport, patio, outbuilding and incidental development
  • Developments being undertaken by a local government or the Western Australian Planning Commission.

While the DAP is the decision maker, Council may request for the Responsible Authority Report be presented to them for their information and consideration. When this occurs the minutes of the relevant Council meeting will be attached to the Responsible Authority Report.

Guiding Documents

Forms and Documents

Frequently Asked Questions

What developments are considered a ‘major development’?

A major development is defined in our Local Planning Policy 1.1 Planning Process and Decision Making as any development comprising of:

  • 10 or more grouped or multiple houses; and/or
  • 2,000 m2 or more of commercial floor space
Is there a fee for Design Review Panel advice?

No. This is a free service.

Is the Design Review Panel independent?

Yes. This is a key principle of effective design review as it ensures that conflicts of interest do not arise.

Who attends the Design Review Panel meetings?

Design Review Panel meetings are not open to the public and can only be attended by applicants, the Design Review Panel members and members of our planning team.

What information do I need to provide to the Design Review Panel?

At the pre-lodgement stage, it is appropriate for concept designs to be presented to the Design Review Panel for consideration. These concept plans may include a site plan, indicative floor plans and elevations and supporting materials such as an indication of materials and finishes.

As the proposal progresses through the design review process the information provided needs to be more detailed to enable a more thorough analysis.

Presentations to the Design Review Panel by applicants should be limited to 5-10 minutes, concentrating on the key design aspects and the taking into account the 10 design principles in State Planning Policy 7.0 Design of the Built Environment.

What design principles does the Design Review Panel consider?

The Design Review Panel considers a variety of principles, including but not limited to:

  • Context and character
  • Landscape quality
  • Built form and scale
  • Functionality and build quality
  • Sustainability
  • Amenity
  • Legibility
  • Safety
  • Community
  • Aesthetics

These principles are drawn from State Planning Policy 7.0 Design of the Build Environment (SPP7.0), which were developed from well-recognised national and international precedents and adjusted to the Western Australian context.

Do I have to take on-board advice from the Design Review Panel?

The Design Review Panel is not a decision maker however its recommendations will be taken into account as a part of the assessment of the proposal by the DAP.

Who appoints the members of the DAP?

Members are appointed by the Minister for Planning.

How do I lodge a DAP application?

All DAP applications need to be lodged in person at our Civic Centre. Each DAP application needs to include the following information as a minimum, in an electronic format (e.g. USB, Dropbox link):

Further information such as an Acoustic Report or Bushfire Attack Level report may be required. We strongly encourage you to contact us to discuss your proposal with a planning officer before you lodge a DAP application.

Can I make minor changes to my DAP approval?

Yes – If you would like to make minor amendments to your approved DAP application there are two paths available. You may choose to have the decision made by the DAP or under delegation by us. If you choose to have the decision made by the DAP you will need to submit the following:

If you choose to have the decision made by us, you will need to complete all of the above information with the exception of the DAP Form 2.

In both situations the application is required to be completed within the standard timeframe of 60 or 90 days.

For further information on what constitutes a minor amendment please refer to the Development Assessment Panel Practice Notes.

How long does it take for the DAP to determine my application?

We aim to process applications within the following guidelines:

  • Where we don’t need to consult with neighbours or external agencies: 60 days.
  • Where we need to consult with neighbours or external agencies: 90 days.

These timelines may sometimes be extended in consultation with the applicant.

How will I know when my application is being determined by the DAP?

We will invite you to the DAP meeting once a meeting date is confirmed.

How and when will I know the outcome of my application?

The DAP makes a decision at the scheduled meeting and a copy of the determination will be provided to the applicant by the DAP secretary.

Who attends DAP meetings?

DAP meetings are open to the public. The applicant, owner and anyone who has made a submission about the application is invited to the meeting.

My development proposal is between $2-10 million, who determines it?

We would be the determining authority for the proposal unless you opt to have your application determined by the DAP.

What do I do if I don’t agree with the DAP’s determination?

If you are the applicant or owner and are aggrieved by a decision of the DAP (including in relation to a condition of approval), you will need to appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal within 28 days of the decision.

There are no third party appeal rights in Western Australia.

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