All development in the City of Fremantle is required to comply with the Town Planning Scheme (No.3) and the Residential Design Codes (2002) for residential development, which legally are part of the Scheme. These guidelines for the development will be adopted by the Council as a Planning Policy under Town Planning Scheme (No.3). which means that all development will have to have regard to these guidelines in conjunction with the Residential Design Codes and / or any Local Area Policy. This policy should be read in conjunction with Draft City Planning Scheme No.4 and Council’s Development & Land Use Policy Manual. 2.0 POLICY AIM & OBJECTIVES

The objective of this policy is to provide guidelines for the consideration and assessment of cut and fill applications to any land within the City of Fremantle taking into account Council’s encouragement for the retention of natural topography wherever possible and any variation from the provisions of the Residential Design Codes (2002) for residential applications. Commercial, Industrial or other land–uses shall be subject to the provisions of this policy in terms of maximum cut and fill to a development site, and provisions for retaining walls. Broad-acre subdivision or new multi-lot subdivisions shall be assessed in accordance with this policy with emphasis on the following: 2.1 2.2 Development should retain the visual impression of the natural ground level of the site, as seen from the street or other public place, or from an adjoining property. Any retaining wall or fill that exceeds 0.5m in height shall be subject to the provisions and advertising as specified below. TOPOGRAPHY AND DEVELOPMENT (INCLUDING SUBDIVISION)


The development of land often involves the alteration of ground level, either through excavation or through the importing of fill. Since the 1960’s it has been standard practice to construct buildings on level prepared pads, especially for concrete. This has led to the requirement of the need for more extensive fill and cut, and for retaining walls. The result of this type of development is significant changes to natural ground levels. It is the intention of this policy to control the level of cut and fill when it relates to development. 4.0 DEVELOPMENT APPLICATIONS / SUBDIVISION AND COUNCIL CONSIDERATION

In considering alterations to site levels Council shall undertake the following: 4.1 For all residential development and subdivision, Council shall assess an application based on Clause 3.6 Site Works, 3.7 Building Height and 3.8 Privacy of the Residential Design Codes. For non-residential development the following shall apply:


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a) b) c)

The site levels as proposed inclusive of any excavation or fill shall not exceed 0.5m. Excavation shall be permitted within a site and behind the setback line with consideration of adjoining properties. Retaining walls shall not exceed 0.5m in height. Justification for any retaining wall over 0.5m shall be submitted with the application to commence development outlining the purpose and reason for an over-height retaining wall. Consideration of visual privacy, amenity and overshadowing (development abutting residential properties). Where it is demonstrated that there is no impact on adjoining properties the retaining wall height shall not exceed 1m in height or as otherwise determined by the Development Assessments Committee. Where an existing ground level is proposed to be altered either as part of a building proposal or to alter the gradient of the land a development approval must be obtained. This may form part of a development application for the land. Such applications for cut and/or fill must include detailed site plans of existing AHD levels, proposed AHD finished levels, nominated finished floor levels and heights of proposed retaining walls. AHD levels will only be required on development of two storeys or more. RL levels will be accepted for single storey development. In assessing applications for cut and/or fill (ground level changes) development of a lot, the Council shall have due regard to the impact of the proposed altered ground levels on adjoining properties and on the amenity of the area. Where sites have large slopes, consideration should be given to stepping the building down/up the slope rather than maintaining a single floor level. Applications which exceed the prescribed standard requirements the applicant may seek a policy variation where Council will advertise the application in accordance with Council’s Policy PA 8 ‘Advertising and Notification of Development Applications’. In assessment the impression of natural ground level of a site from the street or other public place or adjoining property shall remain. This shall also include residential development which does not meet the Acceptable Development Criteria of the R Codes.




g) h)


5.0 5.1

RETAINING WALLS Retaining walls that are provided at subdivisional development stage and those that exist as part of a previous dwelling are excluded from the above-mentioned requirements. For the purpose of this policy and in accordance with the Residential Design Codes such walls are regarded as natural features. Retaining walls shall be assessed on the basis that they are designed or setback to minimise the impact on an adjoining property. The setting back of retaining walls from common boundaries in accordance with Clause 3.6.2 A2 of the Codes may be relaxed in accordance with the Performance Criteria of the same clause for residential development. Clause 5.2 shall also apply in principle to non-residential areas.




In determining the measurement of site levels the diagrams below shall be taken into consideration.

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6.1 6.2 6.3

The measurement of building height includes calculating any additional fill introduced as part of the development application. Cut and fill is measured as any variance to natural ground level. Applications for development whereby site levels are altered and are two stories or more shall include AHD levels as the measurement scale in determining site levels. Those applications for single storey development shall provide RL levels. Applications for new development where site levels will be altered shall include a site feature survey which includes surveyed information of any on-site vegetation, any obstructions to access and site contours.


7.0 7.1

NEIGHBOURHOOD AMENITY AND ASSESSMENT Visual Privacy & Neighbourhood Amenity Council encourages the retention of the natural ground level and does not support the raising of ground level for the purposes of raising the overall development height (whilst maintaining the building height) or obtaining views. Where possible sites should incorporate a combination of cutting and filling, avoiding the import of additional fill and maintaining consistent natural ground levels. Any element of the site that as a result of development which is raised by more than 0.5 metres is subject to assessment of visual privacy in accordance with Clause 3.8 of the Residential Design Codes, whereby screening or additional setback requirements may

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be required if openings do not meet the Acceptable Development Criteria of Clause 3.8.1 of the Codes. 8.0 8.1 APPROVALS Application determination and variations. The Director, Urban Management may consider applications outside the policy requirements where a minor variation is sought that is not seen to be detrimental or where it can be shown that the increased filling is outside the control of the developer (e.g. Limestone/rock at surface, flood plain levels). Where this has occurred, the matter shall be referred to the Development Assessments Unit. Where an objection has been raised the matter may be referred to the Development Assessments Committee for determination. 8.2 Advertising The proposal shall be subject to community consultation consistent with Council’s Policy PA 8, whereby any alteration to natural ground level which exceed 0.5m or retaining walls over 0.5m in height, adjoining neighbours shall be notified. a) All development which raises or extracts from natural ground level by more than 0.5m is subject to advertising in accordance with Council’s Policy PA 8 ‘Advertising and Notification of Development Applications’ Such advertising shall also be applicable to adjoining commercial, industrial and mixed-use properties.

b) 8.3

Policy Review This policy shall be reviewed every 12 months. This policy was adopted on the 19th July 2004.



Further References • • • • • • Town Planning Scheme No. 3 Draft City Planning Scheme No.4 Town Planning and Development Act 1928 Various Council specific local area policies - refer Development and Land Use Policy Manual. Residential Design Codes (2002) Residential Design Codes FAQ Question / Answer Schedule Department of Planning and Infrastructure web site www.planning.wa.gov.au City of Fremantle webpage www.fremantle.wa.gov.au For further information please email info@fremantle.wa.gov.au For further clarification please call The City of Fremantle Customer Service Planner on 9432 9940

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