The term development is primarily defined to mean the development of or use of the land. Development encompasses two ideas, the use of the land and development. The use of the land relates to activities which are done in or on the land but which do not interfere with the actual physical characteristics of the land. The development component relates to activities that result in some physical alteration of the land that has some degree of permanence (Mcleod.2009). There are increasing demands from the built environment and from the development systems that shape it, in response to these demands, planning systems must adopt more efficient processes that deliver the best possible social, environmental and economic outcomes (Forum 2011). Looking at the origin and early development of planning law up to the time of the TP & D Act in WA in 1928, it is plain to see that the interest the planning legislation intended to protect was the public or community interest (McLeod 2011). There have always been tensions between the interests of the general community and private developers. It is worth noting, “…developers from the beginning of time have been in a position to look after their own interests. They did not need planning control laws to promote their interests; they had never wanted them” (McLeod 2011). Because of these tensions, there is need for a system of development controls as to ensure that there is an appropriate balance to protect the community interest whilst meeting developmental needs.
The involvement of local government in development control is linked to the notion of community interest, “it is plain to see that local government involvement produced a system that is rooted in community representation” (McLeod 2011). Councilors are elected, and significantly after important planning decisions, will need to consider their re-election by the local community. They are bound by the LG Act to represent the interests of electors, ratepayers and residents of their respective local government districts (McLeod 2011). Comprehensive development control in WA is imposed primarily through planning schemes. For example almost all local planning schemes emphasize the need for councils when making decisions on planning applications to have regard to:
The interests of orderly and proper planning; and
The preservation of the amenity of the locality.
“Those are consistent and common threads in all local planning schemes, and they are clearly focused on the community interest” (McLeod 2011).
Planning for the future spread of cities has been a key concern for urban planners. Their visions for the shape of the ‘future city’ have been a major factor in the way development is assessed and managed. Metropolitan growth in Perth since 1952 has been little short of spectacular. In the process, Perth has grown far beyond the metropolitan boundaries that successive plans have drawn. “…Speculative developers have played a large part in this outcome, successfully pressing for further land to be released on the margins of the city, well ahead of apparent demand and often against the thrust of metropolitan planning strategy” (Ian 2010).
There are numerous planning theories that help explain the role of planners in the planning sphere. These theories have principles that underline all purposeful action. Synoptic planning, or the rational comprehensive approach, is the dominant tradition (Hudson 1979). Synoptic planning has roughly four classical elements, goal setting, identification of policy alternatives, evaluation of means against ends, and implementation of policy (Hudson1979). Synoptic planning typically looks at problems from a systems viewpoint, using conceptual or mathematical models relating ends (objectives) to means (resources and constraints), this relates heavily to the Western Australian planning context. Take for example the 21st century perspective of WA, this period is “…marked by increasing