Draft plans aim to preserve Catho’s heritage

A new Heritage Area Plan aims to preserve, improve and celebrate the unique historic character of one of the state’s most spectacular coastal villages.

The draft Catherine Hill Bay Heritage Area Plan and accompanying draft Catherine Hill Bay Planning Proposal will help guide development within the village’s conservation area by introducing various development controls including reducing building heights and increasing minimum lot sizes.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser said Catherine Hill Bay had been identified as having “outstanding” state heritage significance.

“The mining history of Catherine Hill Bay and the sheer number of historic buildings still intact make it such a special place – both for the people who live there, and for visitors and tourists,” Cr Fraser said.

Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Integrated Planning Wes Hain said that while not all buildings within the suburb’s Heritage Conservation Area (HCA) were listed heritage items, as a whole they all contributed to its character and significance.

“With that in mind, we’ve individually assessed every property within the HCA on the level of contribution they provide to the village’s overall heritage significance,” he said.

The draft plans apply different development controls on buildings in the HCA, depending on whether they are classified as having higher or lower heritage significance.

Mr Hain said the size of buildings in the HCA was a key part of the area’s significance and character.

“Accordingly one of the key changes outlined in the draft documents would see maximum building heights reduced from 8.5m to 4.5m within Catherine Hill Bay village, and from 8.5m to 5m within the area known as Middle Camp,” he said.

“This will permit single-storey development consistent with the bulk and scale of the historic miners’ cottages that make these areas unique.”

Minimum lot sizes throughout the HCA will be increased from 450sqm to 1000sqm to protect the historically significant subdivision pattern.

“These draft documents provide an opportunity for us to continue to conserve and interpret the heritage significance of Catherine Hill Bay,” Mr Hain said.

“We are really keen to hear from the community while they’re on exhibition and get feedback about the measures we’ve proposed.”

Both documents are on exhibition until 11 October with online information sessions scheduled for Tuesday 21st, Monday 27th and Wednesday 29th September. Go to shape.lakemac.com.au for more information and to have your say.

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