A MARKET square, improved cycleway links and widened footpaths along The Esplanade are key features of new development guidelines for Warners Bay.
After four years of planning and consultation, Lake Macquarie council approved three documents on Monday night, which outline the town centre’s development.
They are the Warners Bay Town Centre Planning Framework; Warners Bay Town Centre Area Plan and Warners Bay Town Centre Streetscape Master Plan.
The market square will be built between Postmans Lane and John Street and will include informal sitting walls and outdoor terraces.
It will act as a thoroughfare for cyclists and pedestrians.
The guidelines also dealt with the contentious issue of building heights up to eight storeys high in the area.
Some councillors expressed concern that this was excessive, however, these fears were snuffed by council staff.
City strategy director Tony Farrell said the documents were only guidelines, and that each new development would still need to be considered by the council.
The matter teetered on the edge of deferral, but in the end, councillors voted 8-2 for the guidelines.
Councillor Brian Adamthwaite said he believed it was a positive step for Warners Bay.
‘‘The matter of development application controls in Warners Bay has been deferred a number of times,’’ he said.
‘‘This gave us time to consult with the community, but it’s time to move forward.’’
Councillor Pauling, who voted against the guidelines, said he felt the process had been ‘‘rushed’’.
‘‘The debate amongst councillors has convinced me that we are not quite ready [to approve the guidelines],’’ Cr Pauling said.
But this was rebuffed by councillor Barney Langford.
‘‘There are many adjectives I could use to describe this particular issue, but rushed is not one of them,’’ Cr Langford said.