Planning for Charlestown

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Council adopted the proposed changes to Charlestown Town Centre Area Plan and planning proposal at the Council meeting on Monday 26 June 2023. The amendment to the Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan was published on the NSW legislation notifications webpage on 20 October 2023. 

The Council report is accessible online (see page 52). Associated documents for adoption are also available on Council's business papers website.

Please note - the changes to parking within Charlestown Town Centre to create distinct parking zones will be considered in a separate future report to the Traffic Facilities and Road Safety Committee. 

Charlestown is a regionally important strategic centre and a focus for investment and intensification of housing, employment, transport, services and recreational opportunities. The existing planning documents applying to Charlestown have been reviewed to ensure they support this envisioned growth.

The amendments proposed will unlock development capacity, promote good quality design and a vibrant Charlestown economic centre. The planning documents that were on exhibition for feedback include the:

  • Charlestown Planning Proposal 
  • Charlestown Town Centre Area Plan

Changes to parking within Charlestown Town Centre are also proposed to create distinct parking zones that encourage turnover and greater access to shops and services.

Submissions closed 3 April 2023.

Proposed building heights and parking zones maps






Council adopted the proposed changes to Charlestown Town Centre Area Plan and planning proposal at the Council meeting on Monday 26 June 2023. The amendment to the Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan was published on the NSW legislation notifications webpage on 20 October 2023. 

The Council report is accessible online (see page 52). Associated documents for adoption are also available on Council's business papers website.

Please note - the changes to parking within Charlestown Town Centre to create distinct parking zones will be considered in a separate future report to the Traffic Facilities and Road Safety Committee. 

Charlestown is a regionally important strategic centre and a focus for investment and intensification of housing, employment, transport, services and recreational opportunities. The existing planning documents applying to Charlestown have been reviewed to ensure they support this envisioned growth.

The amendments proposed will unlock development capacity, promote good quality design and a vibrant Charlestown economic centre. The planning documents that were on exhibition for feedback include the:

  • Charlestown Planning Proposal 
  • Charlestown Town Centre Area Plan

Changes to parking within Charlestown Town Centre are also proposed to create distinct parking zones that encourage turnover and greater access to shops and services.

Submissions closed 3 April 2023.

Proposed building heights and parking zones maps






  • Growth predictions prompt building height rethink for Charlestown

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    Maximum building heights will increase in parts of central Charlestown to make way for future residential and commercial growth, under a new Lake Macquarie City Council proposal.

    Changes are now on public exhibition for Council’s Charlestown Town Centre Area Plan and the Local Environmental Plan, with the aim of encouraging higher density housing and employment opportunities around the landmark suburb’s existing services and infrastructure.

    The proposed changes include introducing new R4 high-density residential zones along part of the eastern side of Dickinson Street, and at the south-eastern end of Smith Street.

    Building height limits would increase in some areas to match the surrounding limits, and land use zone boundaries would be altered to support new commercial and residential development where appropriate.

    “Charlestown is a regionally significant strategic centre, and by paving the way for more development in such a central location, we’ll support the growth projected over the next 30 years,” Mr Hain said.

    He added that the proposed R4 zones would help pinpoint places where residential apartment developments were encouraged.

    “Historically, we’ve seen different building heights and land uses across central Charlestown – sometimes even on the same street, which has generated some confusion” he said.

    “The changes we’re proposing seek to unlock development capacity and apply consistent land use zones and development standards within each street block.”

    Proposed ‘development incentives’ will also be offered in distinct locations: on the existing Hilltop Plaza site and in some parts of the proposed R4 high-density and B4 mixed-use zones.

    “In a nutshell, we’re proposing to extend our maximum height limits in these locations in return for future development meeting certain conditions that provide a positive public benefit,” Mr Hain said.

    “At Hilltop Plaza, they would be required to provide an open-air public laneway connecting Pearson Street with Charlestown Road, providing a better outcome than the existing access.”

    “In the R4 and B4 zones, we’d consider moderately higher development if sites are consolidated and meet a minimum size and frontage width. We believe this would provide better quality development overall.”

    Council is also simultaneously exhibiting planned changes to timed parking zones in Charlestown, eliminating the piecemeal system currently in place.

    The proposed changes would see one-hour timed parking introduced across a precinct bounded by Frederick Street, Charlestown Road, Smith Street and Pearson Street, with 15-minute parking zones in two small high-turnover areas.

    Further east, two-hour timed parking would be implemented from Smith Street to Dickinson Street, bounded by Ida Street to the north, and Charles Street to the south.

    “I want to emphasise that there are no plans to introduce paid parking,” Mr Hain said.

    “However, one of the key actions of the Charlestown Transport Management Plan is to simplify timed parking restrictions by moving to an area-based approach. These changes will achieve that.”

    If the parking zone changes are accepted, Council will monitor any impacts surrounding Charlestown Square, to manage changing demands for parking.

    The proposed changes are on display for public feedback until 3 April. Go to shape.lakemac.com.au for more information and to make a submission.