Structure Plan Framework and Process

Structure plans outline the structure and layout of future development areas. They may cover multiple suburbs or all or part of a townsite. Structure plans illustrate road networks, housing density, land use zoning and buffer zones. A standard structure plan process applies across the State, and is guided by the Town Planning Scheme No. 3 and the Western Australian Planning Commission’s Structure Plan Guidelines.

About structure plans

A Structure Plan illustrates the proposed structure and layout of a future development area.

The preparation of a structure plan is one of the first steps you need to take in order to progress a proposal for the development of a new urban area. Structure plans illustrate key road configurations and the location of retail and community facilities such as shops, schools and public open spaces, as well as details such as housing density, land use classifications and buffer zones.

Structure plans can be prepared for a variety of planning purposes, but are generally done to indicate the way in which an area is proposed for development as well as providing a broad framework to guide Council when it considers subdivision and development proposals.

When to prepare a structure plan

Structure plans are prepared and approved prior to the subdivision or development of land in development areas identified within the City's Town Planning Scheme, or where required by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC). 

You can locate development areas via the zoning module in the City's online mapping system. Please check Table 9 of the City’s Town Planning Scheme No. 3 for additional provisions that may also apply to specific Development Areas.

Structure plan process and framework

The Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 outline the requirements and procedures to follow to prepare a structure plan. 

The WAPC’s Structure Plan Framework explains the different types of structure plans and outlines the information that needs to be submitted with them. This includes an application template to use and a flowchart of the process.

Please ensure you engage the services of appropriate expertise when preparing a structure plan, including the preparation of all supporting information. You should also contact the City’s Strategic Planning Services to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting before submitting your structure plan application.

The suite of studies required to support and inform a Structure Plan are comprehensive and cover the full spectrum of the economic, social and environmental impacts of development.

District structure plans vs local structure plans

Generally, a district structure plan addresses ‘fatal flaws’ of a potential development area and provides for the major structural elements, including major roads, open spaces, commercial and industrial areas, and environmental conditions. A district structure plan can provide a basis for zoning and lead to more detailed structure planning through the preparation of a local structure plan. A local structure plan deals with residential density, subdivision, and the coordination of infrastructure on a neighbourhood or smaller scale. District and local structure plans may apply to several suburbs or all or part of a townsite.

More information and contact

Please contact Strategic Planning for information on the structure plan framework and process on 08 9411 3444 or email

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