Deadline looms for council planning statements

The City of Newcastle is the latest NSW council to lay out its plans for the city over the next 20 years, with a vision of green spaces, ‘active transport’ and a booming night time economy.

The state government announced in 2018 that every Council must submit a Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) providing a blueprint for land use in the local area over the next two decades, including how the special character of an the area will be preserved and how change will be managed in the future.

The statements are designed as a tool for local strategic planning and will inform statutory plans and development controls.

Greater Sydney councils are required to have their LSPSs completed by March 31, including a Letter of Assurance from the Greater Sydney Commission to state the plans are in line with the relevant District Plan. Regional councils have until July 1.

“Strategic planning and stronger collaboration will ensure we create and maintain strong communities for people to live and work,” a spokesperson for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment told Government News.

Four final plans have so far been provided to the government from region councils, including Bourke Shire Council, Coolamon Shire Council, Edward River Council and Walcha Council.

To date, 17 regional councils have exhibited their draft LSPS between 2019 and 2020.

The Greater Sydney Commission will need to confirm Greater Sydney councils’ LSPSs are consistent with the applicable district strategic plan before the final version can be made available.

Northern Beaches Council meanwhile said its LSPS was formally endorsed on Tuesday would go to the Greater Sydney Commission of approval.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes says Newcastle’s draft Local Strategic Planning Statement released this month will shape land-use planning priorities to meet community needs.

The draft plan outlines 16 priorities that “underpin the transformation of Newcastle to a smart, liveable and sustainable global city”.

Mayor Nuatali Nelmes

“It will set out how we should manage greenfield sites, community land and potential development areas over the next two decades,” Cr Nelmes says.

Efficient and connected transport system

Newcastle’s planning priorities are expressed as four key inter-related themes, with the first being an efficient and connected transport system prioritising active transport.

“Our community identifies a strong desire to incorporate active transport in their day to day travel options, but improvements are needed to our built environment to make this an attractive and safe travel option,” the draft plan says.

The integration of land use and transport planning will also help get people to places easily and improve the public transport system.

Greener and more people-oriented city

A second focus for the City is creating a green and liveable city, with more urban green spaces.

“Our community highly value the existing urban green spaces as a major contributor to the local character of our neighbourhoods and for the health, wellbeing, and environmental benefits they provide,” the draft states.

A third goal for the City is to become a more people-oriented city, with inclusive streets and spaces that are responsive to the local character of its communities.

“Inclusive spaces in our streets, neighbourhoods and local centres fosters opportunities for all community members to strengthen social connections. This in turn supports health and wellbeing,” the report says.

The fourth focus of the City is establishing a creative and innovative economy, fostering the growth of its night-time economy, which is it says is a key component of a successful global city. That priority will be achieved through the implementation of existing night time economy, live music and cultural strategies.

Feedback from community

The City sought feedback from the community to draft its LSPS via a survey of more than 500 people, pop-up stalls and childrens’ activities.

“The opinions and wishes of our residents are essential to the City’s planning process,” Cr Nelmes said.

The largest group that took part were aged between 16 to 19 years.

“It’s fantastic that the largest demographic to engage with us on this draft plan was the 16-19-year age group, ensuring the desires of our future ratepayers are reflected in our vision and plans for the future,” Clr Nelmes said.

The City’s LSPS is on public exhibition until March 9.


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