Local Planning Requirements

When you lodge a Development Application with Council, it will be assessed against relevant planning controls. Some of these controls apply to the Cowra Shire only, while others are applied across the whole State. To ensure a streamlined Development Application process with Council, it is important to ensure that you demonstrate compliance with all requirements.

Local Environmental Plans

Cowra Local Environmental Plan 2012 (LEP) is the primary document that controls the way land can be used in the Cowra Shire. Through zoning and development controls, the LEP sets out what you can and cannot do on your land. If your proposal does not comply with the Cowra LEP, it will not be possible for Council to grant approval.

The Cowra LEP is comprised of the following components which must be ready together in order to fully understand the controls that apply to your land or development proposal:

Written Instrument – The written instrument contains the land-use definitions and development standards.

Maps – there are a series of maps which need to be read together with the written instrument. The maps are used to identify the zoning which applies to your land, minimum lot sizes for subdivision, applicability of heritage, flooding and environmental sensitivity controls. 

Land-use Matrix(PDF, 730KB) – The Land-use Matrix can be used as a reference tool to assist you in working out whether a particular type of development is permitted or prohibited on your land. Before you use this tool, you must be aware of the zoning of your land.

Development Control Plans

Whereas the Cowra Local Environmental Plan 2012 (LEP) contains overarching or broad controls on the way land can be used in the Cowra Shire, Development Control Plans (DCP's) contain more detailed controls with regards to specific development types and locations.

DCP's are non statutory documents. This means that they are prepared by Council planners to meet the needs of the local community. If your proposal does not comply with a standard contained in a DCP, it may still be possible for Council to grant approval, but only where this can be justified appropriately.

The only DCP applying to land in the Cowra Local Government Area is the Cowra Shire Council Development Control Plan 2021. 

The Cowra Shire Council Development Control Plan 2021 is made up of a number of different Parts which address different categories of development and planning issues. Copies of the relevant Parts can be downloaded below:

Part A - Plan Introduction(PDF, 2MB)

Part B - Land Management(PDF, 6MB)

Part C - Biodiversity Management(PDF, 2MB)

Part D - Subdivision Development(PDF, 1MB)

Part E - Urban and Village Development(PDF, 10MB)

Part F - Rural Development(PDF, 7MB)

Part G - Large Lot Development(PDF, 9MB)

Part H - Commercial Development(PDF, 3MB)

Part I - Industrial Development(PDF, 4MB)

Part J - Cowra Regional Airport(PDF, 4MB)

Part K - Land-use Buffers(PDF, 5MB)

Part L - Advertising and Signage(PDF, 2MB)

Part M - Parking, Access and Mobility(PDF, 3MB)

Part N - Landscaping(PDF, 1MB)

Part O - Environmental Hazard Management(PDF, 10MB)

Part P - CPTED principles(PDF, 1MB)

State Environmental Planning Policies

In addition to the planning controls contained in the Cowra Local Environmental Plan 2012 and Cowra Development Control Plans, there are many State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) which apply controls across state wide.

Many of these SEPP's deal with specific issues such as aged housing, contaminated land, hazardous and offensive development, affordable housing, infrastructure, rural development and also major developments. All State Environmental Planning Policies applying to the NSW can be viewed on the NSW Legislation website.

One of the most commonly used SEPP's in the Cowra Shire specifies development that can be carried out without Council approval (exempt development) or as complying development. See Council's web section on exempt and complying development for further information.

Draft Plans

There are currently no draft Plans on public exhibition.


Frequently Asked Questions:

I am building a house in an agricultural area. Which controls apply?

Not all agricultural property holdings have a building entitlement. It is recommended that you speak with Council in the first instance to determine whether your land has a building entitlement. If it does, the following Parts may contain planning controls that will apply to your proposal:

Cowra Local Environmental Plan 2012(PDF, 452KB)

Part A - Plan Introduction(PDF, 2MB)

Part B - Land Management(PDF, 6MB)

Part C - Biodiversity Management(PDF, 2MB)

Part F - Rural Development(PDF, 7MB)

Part K - Land-use Buffers(PDF, 5MB)

Part O - Environmental Hazard Management(PDF, 10MB)

I am planning to subdivide land. Which controls apply?

Seems a bit complicated. Can someone from Council assist?

Yes. If you would like further guidance and assistance in understanding the planning controls which apply to your land, or your proposed development, then it is recommended that you contact Council on the details below:

By telephone – (02) 6340 2040, Monday to Friday during the hours on 8.30am to 4.30pm.

By email –  council@cowra.nsw.gov.au