Local Environmental Plans

The Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 (LEP) is a legal document that provides rules and standards for uses on private and public land within the City of Newcastle local government area. The LEP is made up of a written document (instrument) and a series of accompanying maps.

How to view the LEP

The Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 is located on the NSW Legislation website, which consists of both a written document and supporting maps.

To view a particular map you will need to determine the map type (eg. LZN for land zoning, FSR for floor space ratio, HOB for height of buildings, etc) and the location code (eg. _004C), which is based on a map grid on the left side of each map sheet which is set by the Department of Planning and Environment.

Once you have identified the applicable location code (eg. 004C) it will be the same for each map type.

Alternatively, the NSW Government has created a Planning Portal. Here you can easily find information about a specific property, including planning rules, controls and development constraints. The results direct you to an interactive map called a planning viewer which maps the planning controls affecting the property.

Interpreting LEP maps

A brief explanation of the application of each map type is provided below:

Interpreting the LEP maps

The zoning of land controls, what uses and activities are permitted or prohibited on a parcel of land and sets objectives for land within that zone.

The maximum FSR of buildings on a site is the ratio of the gross floor area of all buildings within the site, expressed as a factor of 1.  That is the total floor area on all levels of the building, minus any exclusions provided for in the definition of gross floor area, divided by the site area.

For example:

  • site area = 600m2
  • gross floor area = 300m2
  • calculation = 300m2 divided by 600m2 = 0.5

This provides for a floor space ratio of 0.5:1

See the 'Dictionary' in Newcastle LEP 2012 for a definition of ‘gross floor area'.

The maximum floor space ratio for a building is not to exceed the floor space ratio specified in the maps, except as where specified in the  LEP.

The 'building height' or 'height of building' means the vertical distance between ground level (existing) and the highest point of the building, including plant and lift overruns, but excluding communication devices, antennae, satellite dishes, masts, flagpoles, chimneys, flues and the like.  The 'height of a building' on any land is not to exceed the maximum height shown for the land on the map, except where specified in the written document (ie. the Newcastle LEP 2012).

Where no maximum height is identified in the map (eg. heritage conservation areas), the design of development should be taken from the height of surrounding development.

The size of any lot resulting from a subdivision of land to which this clause applies is not to be less than the minimum size shown on the map, except as where specified in the written document (ie. the Newcastle LEP 2012).

The maps identify:

  • conservation areas
  • heritage items
  • archaeological items
  • landscape items

that have heritage significance.  Proposed developments must take into consideration the relevant clauses of the Newcastle LEP 2012.

Soils containing highly acidic soil layers resulting from the aeration of soil materials that are rich in iron sulphides, primarily pyrite.  Newcastle LEP 2012 provides further guidance as to when an Acid Sulfate Plan is required.

Land identified in the map is subject to specific controls in the Newcastle LEP 2012 and Newcastle Development Control Plan (DCP).  The controls aim to provide orderly development and facilitate the provision of public access and open space in the area.

Land identified in the map, is land that the nominated Authority in Clause 5.1 may be required to acquire under Division 3 of Part 2 of the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (the owner-initiated acquisition provisions).

Land identified as a 'Key Site' in the map, is subject to specific assessment criteria, for certain development, as specified in Clause 7.5 of Newcastle Local Environmental Plan (LEP 2012).

Land identified in the map contains additional local provisions that apply to Urban Release areas.  Details can be found in Part 8 of the Newcastle LEP 2012.

The above information is also available by purchasing a S10.7 Planning Certificate for a specific parcel of land.

Amending Newcastle LEP 2012

Amending City of Newcastle’s LEP is a legal process which must be carried out in accordance with Part 3 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

A document and supporting information explaining the intended effect and justification of a proposed amendment to an LEP is a planning proposal.

The requirements and stages of amending a LEP are outlined on the Department of Planning Housing and Infrastructure under the ‘Plans For Your Area’ tab.

How can the LEP be amended?

Contact City of Newcastle's Strategic Planning Team to arrange a preliminary meeting to help with your decision whether or not to proceed. This needs to consider:

  • Does the amendment have strategic merit and is it consistent with relevant legislation and State, Regional and Local strategies and policies?

  • Is an amendment needed or is there another way to allow your proposal? i.e. development application

  • Is the proposed amendment the best way to amend the LEP? i.e. an amendment to clauses, schedules, or maps considering the broader implications of the proposed amendment

  • Are there site characteristics (e.g. flooding, contamination, bushfire etc.) precluding an amendment from proceeding, or requiring studies to determine this? CN web pages: S10.7 Planning certificates, Contaminated land and Flooding may assist.

If your proposal has strategic merit and you would like to proceed the next step is to prepare a scoping proposal.

To make a formal request to amend the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2012, applicants are required to apply through the NSW Planning Portal. You will require the following documents to complete your submission:

CN encourages proponents to submit a scoping proposal to the Strategic Planning Team and request a pre-lodgement meeting before lodging a formal request to amend Newcastle LEP 2012. This will assist in ensuring the correct information is submitted at lodgement of the Planning Proposal. A scoping proposal is subject to Stage 1 fees. You have the option to engage with the Strategic Planning Team before a scoping proposal through a single initial preliminary discussion meeting. This preliminary discussion meeting is at a high level and provides an opportunity for the proponent to hear from CN on regional and local strategies and policies. There is no charge for this meeting, but it is limited to one meeting only.

Upon acceptance of a request for a planning proposal, if the Strategic Planning Team is satisfied that the planning proposal provides sufficient detail for assessment and has strategic merit, you will be invoiced Stage 1 fees unless already paid as part of a scoping proposal.

CN Strategic Planning staff will be guided by the NSW Government's Local Environmental Plan Making Guideline.

The Strategic Planning Team will arrange an LEP Advisory Panel meeting upon acceptance of the Planning Proposal. The LEP Advisory Panel will provide advice on key matters and any further investigations and/or studies needed to inform the Planning Proposal. 

Upon payment of Stage 2 fees, CN's Strategic Planning Team will prepare and report a Planning Proposal for Council's endorsement prior to forwarding this to the NSW Government.

Where supported by Council, the Planning Proposal will be forwarded to NSW Government for Gateway determination.

The Gateway determination will specify: 

  • whether the planning proposal is supported 

  • any further studies to be prepared prior to public exhibition 

  • whether the planning proposal needs to be amended prior to public exhibition 

  • the length of the public exhibition period 

  • whether a public hearing is required 

  • whether Council has delegations to make the proposed amendment 

  • the timeframe for finalising the proposed amendment.

The Gateway determination may require additional information, revisions, studies or targeted consultation to occur with authorities or government agencies and other stakeholders before public exhibition. 

A gateway determination that specifies the proposal should proceed, does not guarantee that the proposed LEP amendment will be made. 

Stage 3 fees will need to be paid prior to the Strategic Planning Team progressing the amendment in accordance with the Gateway determination. 

To view the details and progress of all planning proposals that City of Newcastle has forwarded to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for gateway determination follow the links to the ‘LEP Tracking System’ on the  Department of Planning and Environment's website.

Areas not covered by the LEP

There are some areas in the City of Newcastle local government area that do not come under the LEP. These are considered State Significant Sites, and are directly controlled by State Environmental Planning Policies. They include:

NSW Legislation

NSW State Government provides a framework for the development of planning policies at the local government level through a number of agencies and laws.

Here are some useful links to web pages of State government agencies where you can directly reference information on State planning policies and legislation applying to urban and regional areas.

  • NSW Legislation - Includes Acts and statutory instruments (such as regulations and environmental planning instruments) provided by the Parliamentary Counsel's Office. Look up legislation currently in force, archives, FAQs and exposure drafts.
  • NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment - State Environmental Planning Policies, metropolitan and regional land use strategies, Basix, planning reform, environmental planning legislation.
  • NSW Environment, Energy and Science - cares for and protects NSW's environment and heritage, which includes the natural environment, Aboriginal country, culture and heritage, and built heritage.