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Nelson Bay Strategy

There are some really exciting changes happening which will make Nelson Bay an even more inviting and beautiful place. The changes will sustain the Bay as a major contributor to the Hunter regional economy and revitalise the centre for residents and visitors.

Our community has told us what they want in a reinvigorated town centre and the vision for Nelson Bay aims to enhance local character, attract investment, and create vibrant streets to revitalise Nelson Bay.


Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan

Streets that prioritise people, a greener town centre and more spaces for the community to enjoy - that’s the exciting new vision for Nelson Bay.

The Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan will be used to guide future investment in the Bay, including grant funding and future works by Council. The Plan implements a key actions of the Progressing the Nelson Bay Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy: A Revised Implementation and Delivery Program (PDF 4.6MB) and sets out a long term vision for the streets, paths, parks and foreshore around Nelson Bay Town Centre.

The Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan was adopted by Council on 23 July 2019.

A Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan Fact Sheet (PDF 4.4MB) summarises the key features of the draft plans.

Council commenced consultation on this project during the exhibition of the Progressing the Nelson Bay Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy: A Revised Implementation and Delivery Program, and the plans have been informed by stakeholder workshops held with representatives from key community, resident, and business groups. The outcomes of these workshops have been reported in the draft Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan.

We established the Independent Nelson Bay Citizen’s Parking Panel in November 2018. This was a key action of the Progressing the Nelson Bay Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy: A Revised Implementation and Delivery Program.

Panel workshops considered parking, access, traffic and related matters in and around Nelson Bay.  The recommendations of the Independent Panel relating to the public domain, including streets and pathways around Nelson Bay have been considered in the preparation of the draft Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan. Read the Nelson Bay Citizen Parking Panel Report (PDF 976KB).


Nelson Bay planning proposal

Along with the adoption of the Delivery Program, Council endorsed the preparation of a Planning Proposal to amend various built form provisions within the Port Stephens Local Environmental Plan 2013 (the LEP) that apply to land within the Nelson Bay Town Centre and Foreshore (the Town Centre) to create opportunities for increased density and achieve the desired built form.

The proposed provisions will deliver actions 1, 2 and 7 of the Delivery Program by:

  • Introducing floor space ratios to control the bulk and scale of new development;
  • Amending the height of building map;
  • Requiring active street frontages for new development; and
  • Introducing minimum street frontage widths for sites in the Town Centre.

The Planning Proposal seeks to create opportunities for the activation of underdeveloped and underutilised sites in the Town Centre. The amended provisions will encourage revitalisation of the Town Centre and complement the activated public spaces the Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan will create.

On 13 October 2020, Council resolved to exercise delegated plan making functions to amend the Port Stephens Local Environmental Plan 2013, which will enact the provisions included in the planning proposal. Gazettal of the amended LEP is anticipated to occur early in 2021.


Nelson Bay delivery program

On 25 September 2018, Council adopted the Progressing the Nelson Bay Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy: A revised implementation and delivery program (Delivery Program) (PDF 4.6MB).

The Delivery Program has been prepared to support efforts by all stakeholders to attract public and private investment to the Nelson Bay town centre. It makes the changes necessary to encourage investment in the Bay, such as amendments to planning controls (e.g. maximum building height limits and the introduction of floor space ratios) and provision for better quality public spaces.

The Delivery Program includes an implementation plan to replace the actions that accompany the Nelson Bay Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy 2012. It sets a forward direction by listing over 30 recommendations to encourage investment and improve the amenity and vibrancy of Nelson Bay town centre.

The Strategy aims to guide Nelson Bay towards becoming more attractive to tourists, the business community and residents.

Nelson Bay Foreshore image
Nelson Bay Foreshore image

Goal 1: Design excellence

  • A planning proposal that lists the activated street frontages clause and provides a map is placed on public exhibition and then reported to Council for endorsement.
  • A gateway determination and exhibition is to be published.
  • Within 12 months of this gateway determination, the planning proposal is to be adopted.
  • An independent design panel is to be established in line with the SEPP - No 65 - Design Quality of Residential Flat Buildings and the associated Apartment Design Guide.
  • Within 12 months of the delivery program being adopted the panel will have been created and referred Development Applicaitons.
  • A training program will be prepared and supported by the Independent Urban Design Panel at its first meeting.
  • Training will involves sessions for staff that do not otherwise hold urban design qualifications.
  • Training will take place on an annual basis.
  • Council to provide support and financial contributions to industry awards for urban design in the Hunter region.
  • A 3D model of the existing town centre is commissioned using aerial mapping.

Goal 2: Building heights

  • Create a planning proposal that lists the FSR clause, the increase in height of building and provides maps to be placed on public exhibition.
  • Following this period of public exhitibion, the planning proposal is to be reported to Council for endorsement.
  • This is to be completed within 12 months of the Gateway Determination being published.
  • The policy has been prepared and reported to Council for adoption with the delivery program and will apply across the greater Port Stephens region.
  • The policy will be used to provide greater transparency, community participation and more robust assessments when a variation to a development standard is proposed.
  • Boundaries of the proposed expansion are identified.
  • Demonstrate that the need to expand the strategy boundary was identified in the Discussion Paper.

Goal 3: Development incentives

  • Giving clarity around development incentives that were outlined in the strategy but not the Port Stephens Local Environmental Plan 2013. Because of this they have no legislative effect.
  • The amendment for the Nelson Bay town centre and foreshore be prepared within 12 months of the delivery program.
  • This amendment will support development controls that will enhance the public domain and pedestrian experience.

Goal 4: Public domain

A public domain plan is created that address the following:

  • streetscape design guide
  • wayfinding and signage
  • street tree masterplan
  • Include 'smart city' initiatives for the town centre activation.
  • Remove the Stockton Street stage from the Delivery Program.  This includes works related to shade, road and pavement drainage, and pedestrian access.
  • Review this Plan of Management three years after the adoption of the Delivery Program.
  • Apply the Apex Park Masterplan. The timing of this will be dependent on available funding.
  • Develop a toolkit for the organisers of public events. This includes options for way finding, crowd control, traffic control, car parking and shuttle services.
  • Provide an audit of existing public infrastructure such as public toilets or power sockets.
  • This audit will be undertaken within 3 years of the adoption of the Delivery Program.

Goal 5: Transport and parking

  • An Integrated Transport Plan to be developed within 12 months of the adoption of the Delivery Program.
  • The plan will incorporate outcomes from the Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan (PAMP), the Nelson Bay Domain Plan and recommendations from Citizens Panel on parking.
  • Future projects such as the Fingal Bay bypass will also use the Integrated Transport Plan.

Long and short term car parking options to be identified and could include:

  • multi and at-grade car parks
  • satellite parking locations
  • 'smart parking' technology
  • parking metres and restricted parking
  • Within 12 months of the adoption of the Delivery Program, a citizens panel will be established.
  • This panel will make recommendations to Council on the communities perspective on car parking congestion.
  • Panel membership will be a diverse cross section of the community.
  • Complete the Yacaaba Street extension.
  • 3 years following the adoption of the Delivery Program, complete a capacity analysis of a pedestrian bridge.
  • This may be included as part of the Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan.
  • A review of signage will be included within the draft Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan and also in the review of the Foreshore Plan of Management.
  • The Citizens Panel on parking will consider parking metres as part of their recommendations.
  • In working with Roads and Maritime Services and the community, identify road speed reductions that will encourage a more pedestrian friendly environment.
  • This may be included in the draft Nelson Bay Public Domain plan
  • Provide designs for the upgrades of the intersections identified in the Transport and Parking Study.
  • Implement the PAMP.
  • These may be included as part of the Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan.

Goal 6: Implementation

  • Implementation panel to meet twice yearly to monitor the progress of the Delivery Program.
  • Funding streams for all works will require resolution and a report presented to Council.
  • Following the adoption of the Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan the best funding streams are to be identified.
  • Funding options will be identified for other actions in the Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan.

Nelson Bay Implementation Panel

The Nelson Bay Implementation Panel has been established to provide community advice to Council on the implementation of the Delivery Program.

The objective of the Nelson Bay Panel are:

  • to provide a forum to regularly report on progress and share information between Council and the community; and
  • to drive the implementation of the actions contained within the delivery program.

The Nelson Bay panel is made up of the following members:

  • Mayor Ryan Palmer
  • Councillor Glen Dunkley
  • Councillor Jaimie Abbott
  • Councillor John Nell
  • Greg Smith — Community Representative (Resident)
  • Nicholas Diemar — Community Representative (Business)
  • Richard Casey — Community Representative (Resident)
  • Richard Ware — Community Representative (Resident)
  • Robert Taylor — Community Representative (Business)
  • Council staff from Strategic Planning, Economic Development and Assets teams.

Nelson Bay Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy

The Strategy delivers a vision for change and details the key initiatives and strategies that will guide the Town Centre and Foreshore. The Strategy not only recommends planning controls for future developments and guidance for the revitalisation of the public domain, it also identifies the critical stages and considerations in delivering the Strategy’s vision.

The Nelson Bay Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy was adopted by Council on the 24 April 2012.