Draft Newcastle metro plan released

The NSW Government has released a Draft Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan. It sets out urban strategies to 2036 for Newcastle City, Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Port Stephens.

The plan was released on 30 November by NSW chief planner Gary White. It is at this stage a draft plan, with the NSW Government’s Department of Planning and Environment seeking comment until February 2018.

The plan mentions a Hunter Special Infrastructure Contributions Fund, but no details were released.

“The Hunter Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) will set out the State infrastructure and development contributions to support the growth and development of Greater Newcastle and the wider Hunter Region. The Hunter SIC will help deliver the goals of the Hunter Regional Plan 2036 and this draft Metropolitan Plan, and will replace the draft 2011 Lower Hunter Special Infrastructure Contribution Plan.”

The plan has been welcomed by the Hunter Business Chamber. CEO Bob Hawes said the Chamber will now prepare a response to the plan, as part of the submission process.

It has also been welcomed by developer lobby group Urban Taskforce, which says it  includes a positive set of strategies to balance housing and jobs growth with infrastructure provision.

“The plan sets out a strong framework for growth that improves on the Sydney Metropolitan Plan,” says Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson. “Urban renewal corridors, new housing encouraged in strategic centres and support for mixed use catalyst areas give clearer directions than in the Sydney Metropolitan Plan.

“The Newcastle plans supports housing diversity and choice but it does not propose extra levies for affordable housing which is another difference from the Sydney version. The focus on the delivery of new housing in strategic centres, urban renewal corridors and priority release areas provides a good balanced approach for where new housing should be located.

The plan identifies 13 strategic centres across Greater Newcastle, including seven strategic centres in the city core.

“This polycentric structure is the way many cities are developing, including Sydney and London,” said Mr Johnson. “Importantly, the plan stresses the need to improve the connections between the strategic centres through public transport.

“A potential high speed rail corridor to Sydney is proposed which could lead to the linking of the urban areas north and south of Sydney through a modern fast transport route.”

The draft plan can be found here.

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