Newcastle council forms new town planning strategy

WITH the Newcastle community still waiting for the state government to act on light rail plans, the Hunter Street redevelopment, the 98-year lease of the port, and the proposed T4 coal terminal, Newcastle council is also working behind the scenes on a new local planning strategy.

The strategy is designed to take Newcastle to 2030.

The council has highlighted two locations that it expects to grow significantly between now and 2036.

It predicts the Fletcher/Minmi population to grow about 4.65 per cent a year, while Newcastle, Newcastle East and Newcastle West will grow about 2.38 per cent.

The council is slightly behind on its initial timeline, but has released working papers on infrastructure, heritage, housing, future city and history. It is yet to release papers on transport, environment, open space and recreation.

A spokeswoman for the council said it was still aiming for a mid-year release of the plan, but changes proposed in the new NSW planning system could delay it.

The changes will make it easier for big development proposals in high-growth areas, such as Wickham, to be approved.

She said the suspension of council's Future City director Judy Jaeger had not hindered the timeframe.

A council officer, and not Ms Jaegar, was in charge of the strategy, she said.

Ms Jaeger, along with Newcastle Art Gallery director Ron Ramsey, have been suspended on full pay since November, with the council tight-lipped on the reason.

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