Development is defined to mean the making of any material change in the use or density of any buildings or land or the subdivision of any land and the erection of such buildings or works as the Minister may from time to time determine and the Act specifies that the deposit of refuse, scrap or waste material on land involves a change of use on land. The use as two or more dwellings or a building previously used as one dwelling constitutes development. The erection of more than one dwelling or shop or the erection of both dwelling and shop on one plot constitute development. The display of any advertisement constitutes development. The use of any buildings or land within the cartilage of dwelling for any purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling constitutes development.
The local authority has power to prohibit or control the use and development of land and buildings in the interests of proper and orderly development and to consider and approve development applications and grant development permissions. The person who requires a development permission shall apply to the local authority and the application shall be accompanied by such plans and particulars as are necessary to indicate the purpose of the development. The local application shall refer their director for his comments and when considering the application the local authority shall be bound by any relevant regional or local physical development plan approved by the Minister. It shall also have regard to health, amenities and convenience of the community generally and to the proper planning and density of development and land use in the area. It shall have regard to any comments received by the director.
The local authority may grant the application or refuse it and the aggrieved party may appeal to the relevant liaison committee. If in connection with a development application, a local authority is of the opinion that proposals for industrial locations, dumping sites, sewerage treatments, quarries or any other development activity will have injurious impact on the environment, the applicant shall be required to submit an Environmental Income Assessment Report.
Under Section 37 the Registrar of Lands shall refuse to register a document relating to the development of land unless development permission has been granted. If development is carried out without planning permission the local authority may serve an enforcement notice and the notice is served on the owner, the occupier or the developer of the land. The notice shall specify the development concerned and such measures required to be taken within a specified period to restore the land to its original condition. In particular the notice may require the demolition or alteration of any building or works or the discontinuance of any use of land. A person aggrieved by such a notice may appeal to the liaison committee.