What is a Place Strategy?

    A Place Strategy is a framework to manage the growth of an area. It streamlines the process by which land is rezoned to enable more housing, services and jobs, and to help manage biodiversity conservation, flooding and bush fire threats. A Place Strategy will enable state and local planning requirements to be considered up front for growth areas in and around Morisset, with funding support from the NSW Government.

    Decisions on infrastructure investment often lag behind new growth areas and the delivery of more housing. An infrastructure-first, place-based approach to planning requires infrastructure providers, the development industry and government agencies to take a coordinated approach. This collaboration will achieve better outcomes for communities, industry and government.

    Place Strategy planning establishes a platform around which the community, state and local government, business and other stakeholders can collaborate in pursuit of an agreed vision and, in turn, attract growth and investment that balances social, economic and environmental outcomes.

    Why prepare a Place Strategy for Morisset?

    Morisset is identified as a regionally significant growth area within the Hunter Regional Plan 2041 and, as such, requires the preparation and implementation of a Place Strategy. 

    Morisset is a good place for growth with its strategic location and qualities, including direct and easy access to the M1 Motorway, the Main North railway line, infrastructure availability, amenity, land availability, and proximity to the Central Coast, Newcastle/Hunter and Sydney.

    Morisset will emerge as a regionally significant mixed-use centre supporting diverse businesses and services, as well as opportunities for more intensive multi-storey commercial, mixed use and residential development. Land release will be staged to optimise infrastructure delivery. Local strategic planning will identify infrastructure needs early, and coordinate transportation improvements and infrastructure provision to support the timely and efficient release of land for development.

    Investigations into ecology and stormwater management are required to determine conservation and development potential. Development must be balanced with biodiversity conservation, within the broader context of the identified green corridors. Detailed ecological investigations will focus on:

    • the location, nature and conservation value of vegetated lands, including any threatened species listed under State or Commonwealth legislation
    • how this land, or parts of it, will complement green corridors
    • the location of local ecological corridors, including riparian areas, and links to planned corridors outside the district
    • the extent of potential biodiversity losses from development and the need for, and extent of, offsets.

    What areas are included in the Place Strategy?

    The boundary for the Place Strategy is based on the ‘Morisset regionally significant growth area’ identified in the Hunter Regional Plan 2041.

    What will the Place Strategy consider?

    The Morisset Place Strategy will consider biodiversity, flooding, transport and other relevant planning matters usually considered through individual land rezoning proposals. Supporting the Place Strategy will be a growth and change map outlining preferred land uses and transport infrastructure requirements.

    What have we already achieved?

    Preparing place strategies is a fairly new planning tool in NSW, and was first formally required in the Hunter region through the Hunter Regional Plan 2041, published in late 2022. Council has been working with NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) over the past 12 months to advance the preparation of the Place Strategy for Morisset. This includes:

    • seeking preliminary advice from key government agencies
    • identifying possible investigation areas for growth/development
    • identifying and initiating studies required to prepare and implement the Place Strategy, some of which have been completed, some are in production, and some subject to funding
    • preparing a preliminary project plan and timeline for the Place Strategy
    • DPE endorsing the preparation of the Morisset Place Strategy as a priority for the Lower Hunter 
    • preparing and presenting this discussion paper to receive community input on insights and ideas from the initiation phase, and to hear and understand what people love about Morisset and what may be improved.

    How will we move forward with developing a Place Strategy for Morisset?

    Council is proposing a three-step process: 

    Step one:

    Undertake initial community engagement, seeking feedback on issues raised in this discussion paper (the remaining part of the Initiation phase)

    Step two:

    • Prepare a draft Place Strategy (including studies and analysis on a range of issues) for Council’s consideration and, if resolved by Council, place on public exhibition
    • Review submissions and present a final version of the Place Strategy to Council for adoption and Department of Planning and Environment endorsement.

    Step 3: 

    Implement the Place Strategy.

    How will the Place Strategy be implemented?

    The Place Strategy will set out objectives, planning principles and intentions for changes to the Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan (which specifies what can be built where through land use zones) and the Lake Macquarie Development Control Plan (which specifies certain design requirements for new development where Council is the approval authority). The Place Strategy will also form an addendum to the Lake Macquarie Local Strategic Planning Statement, which guides planning for the city, enshrined in State legislation.

    The Place Strategy will serve as an infrastructure investment guide, and provide clarity for the community, government and industry on what and how Morisset will grow over the next 20-30 years.

    How will this impact Development Applications and Planning Proposals in Morisset?

    A Place Strategy is a very high-level document that establishes future direction. If you are planning to submit a development application for a site in Morisset, you can continue to do so.

    For larger residential, mixed-use or commercial development proposals within the Morisset town centre, please contact Council to discuss your proposal, as our proposed changes may have benefits for your proposal, subject to timeframes.

    Planning Proposals prepared on land within or immediately adjoining the Morisset regionally significant growth area before the adoption of a Place Strategy must be consistent with the strategy outcomes identified in the Hunter Regional Plan 2041 for each regionally significant growth area.

    Is there an update on the upgrade of Mandalong Road?

    Mandalong Road is a state road and in 2022, the Federal Government and NSW Government announced funding towards an upgrade of Mandalong Road between Gateway Boulevarde and Wyee Road.

    Transport for NSW is responsible for delivering the works which involve widening Mandalong Road between Gateway Boulevarde and Wyee Road to provide two travel lanes in each direction along with a new signalised intersection at the Wyee Road/Freemans Drive intersection and a new signalised intersection at the Gateway Boulevarde/Mandalong Road Intersection.