Revitalising Newcastle

Newcastle is the second biggest city in NSW and, by 2036, its city centre is expected to accommodate an additional 10,000 jobs and 6,000 homes.

Its setting between the river and the ocean make it a compact, unique and people-friendly city with the potential to be a vibrant economic, residential and tourist hub of international standard.

In 2012, the NSW Government announced the Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy, a 25 year plan to revitalise Newcastle, reinforce its role as a 21st century regional centre and provide a framework to create the jobs and homes needed by 2036.

As infrastructure and other developments emerge in Newcastle, we will update the strategy.  These updates may involve community consultation, depending on the nature of the work required.  

Planning proposals

In March 2014 the community had the opportunity to comment on the following planning proposals and projects:

Formal submissions for the above planning proposals closed in March and April respectively.  Planning & Infrastructure is considering all submissions received. 

Proposed changes to planning controls for Newcastle city centre

Planning and Infrastructure is proposing a change to the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) in response to issues raised when the draft Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy was exhibited publicly.  The proposed changes will enable and encourage projects on several key sites and provide benefits to the local economy and community. 

The proposed changes include:

  • increasing the floor space ratio on the University of Newcastle city campus site (409 Hunter Street) to meet future capacity needs,
  • increasing height across parts of the GPT Group and UrbanGrowth NSW sites in the East End to kick-start redevelopment around Hunter Street Mall, while also protecting significant views,
  • minor amendments to existing city centre LEP clauses, including the thresholds that trigger architectural design competitions, and
  • consolidation of the planning controls in the Newcastle city centre to achieve better development outcomes.

Newcastle development control plan 2012 amendment - Newcastle city centre

The proposal to amend the Newcastle DCP 2012 city centre controls is in order to enable implementation of some aspects of the Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy.

It is proposed that a new section be added to the DCP, called ‘Section 6.01 Newcastle City Centre’.  This section will consolidate and replace three existing city centre DCP sections, and integrate place-based planning for Newcastle East, Honeysuckle and Newcastle West.

The proposed new section, ’Section 6.01 Newcastle City Centre’, will:

  • contain a comprehensive set of planning and design guidance derived from the characteristic features of the distinct areas within the city centre, and
  • include performance criteria that explain the planning outcomes to be achieved, with acceptable solutions that illustrate the preferred ways to satisfy the corresponding performance criteria.

More about the Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy

The strategy focuses on a number of integrated initiatives that could stimulate positive change and renew the city centre of Newcastle.

The Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy was developed by Planning & Infrastructure in consultation with the City of Newcastle, key NSW Government agencies and the community.

Download the strategy 

 [Part 1 - 8MB] [Part 2 - 10MB] [Part 3 - 2MB] [Part 4 - 4MB] [Part 5 - 10MB] [Part 6 - 2MB]

Newcastle Precinct Map 

Urban renewal initiatives included in the strategy:

  • re-establish Hunter Street as Newcastle’s main street,
  • revitalise Hunter Street Mall and the East End to encourage a boutique retail, entertainment, leisure and residential precinct,
  • diversify the city’s economy,
  • promoting a university presence and educational hub at Civic,
  • position the West End as the city’s future CBD,
  • recognise Newcastle’s heritage as an asset, and
  • promote a shift to public transport and create a connected pedestrian and cyclist network.

The NSW Government has made a number of announcements related to the strategy, including:

  • a new multi-modal transport interchange at Wickham,
  • light rail between Wickham interchange and the beach,
  • state and federal government funding towards the relocation of University of Newcastle city campus, law and business faculties to Civic, and
  • UrbanGrowth NSW to facilitate master planning and redevelopment of landholdings around Hunter Street Mall in the East End.

The community’s involvement in the development of the strategy

The Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy and associated draft amendments to the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) were publicly exhibited for five months from 14 December 2012 until 19 April 2013. Two community sessions held in Newcastle were attended by more than 400 people.

Planning and Infrastructure received 420 submissions during the exhibition period. The majority of the feedback was in relation to the termination of the rail line at Wickham. Concerns about land use and zoning, heritage and funding were also raised.

Feedback on the strategy was overwhelmingly supportive of the urban renewal initiatives and the proposed planning amendments.

Planning and Infrastructure continues to engage with stakeholders for their feedback.

The Newcastle Urban renewal strategy and the Newcastle light rail project

One of the most important components of the NSW Government’s initiatives to renew Newcastle city centre is an “integrative transport solution” to better connect the city centre and the waterfront.

In 2013, the NSW Government announced it would truncate the heavy rail line and introduce light rail to the city centre between Wickham and Newcastle Beach.

Light rail in Newcastle will support urban renewal and improve connections to the waterfront as well as increasing public transport choice.

The Newcastle light rail project, including route development and community consultation, is being managed by UrbanGrowth NSW.


Funding the revitalisation of Newcastle

The NSW Government’s funding commitment for Newcastle’s city centre has been enabled by the long-term leasing of the ports, as announced in the 2013-14 State budget. Additional funds to support improvements across the city centre will be provided through developer contributions, planning agreements and grant funding.

Next steps

Planning & Infrastructure will continue to work with the City of Newcastle and other key stakeholders to update the overall strategy for the City of Newcastle.

The strategy will be updated to reflect the outcomes of the light rail project.

Planning and Infrastructure is in the process of consolidating an implementation plan providing a delivery framework for renewal over the life of the entire strategy. 

Last Updated 15-Apr-2014