Rail rezoning proposal to open for comment

22 Aug 2017

Newcastle City Council tonight agreed to place a draft planning proposal to rezone Newcastle's former heavy-rail corridor on public exhibition.
The draft planning proposal to allow mixed uses, public open space and tourism between Worth Pl and Watt St on the former rail corridor will be open for public comment for 40 days from Monday 11 September.
The exhibition period will include a Council-endorsed public voice session for community representatives to present to the new Council.

"The public exhibition period is a very important part of this rezoning process as it allows all sectors of the community to have their say on the rezoning proposal and the planning agreement for the former rail corridor," Council's Interim CEO, Jeremy Bath, said.

"The month-long exhibition period will include two community information sessions, an opportunity for the public to directly address Council and a dedicated engagement website, which can be used to lodge formal submissions. 

"The rezoning process is very complex but essentially the agreement proposes a mix of open space, residential and commercial space with affordable housing and educational and tourist facilities within relevant controls on building heights, floor space ratios, lot sizes, landscaping etc." 

In May this year, Council resolved not to proceed with the public exhibition to await a Transport for NSW plan for public and active transport in the Lower Hunter. 

At the same meeting Council also called for all proceeds from rail corridor development to be re-invested in the city and for the affordable housing portion of residential development to be increased. 

Councillors received a transport briefing from state agencies in June and a planning agreement outlining developer-funded public amenities and increased affordable housing provisions. 

"Council officers will incorporate feedback from the public exhibition period into another report to Council before the end of 2017," Mr Bath said. 

"It will address the issues raised and whether amendments should be made. 

"If endorsed, a request will be made to the Department of Planning to finalise the planning proposal to amend the LEP by which future development applications are determined by Council." 

A development control plan (DCP) providing detailed controls for building within the rail corridor and creating public domain areas will also go on exhibition. 

The DCP establishes four key precincts: Civic Link, Darby Plaza, Hunter Street Live-Work Units and Newcastle Station and Foreshore Park, each with their own set of objectives that must be considered in the future development of these precincts. 

Public exhibition timeline: 

  • Forty-day public exhibition period begins Monday 11 September 
  • Community information sessions held during week beginning 18 September 2017 
  • Public voice meeting prior to the December 2017 report to Council 
  • Dates of public voice session and meeting dates (for the December 2017 report) will be confirmed after the meeting schedule is adopted by the new Council.