Why does Westy need this Master Plan?

    West Wallsend is “one of the most significant historic townscapes in Lake Macquarie” (City of Lake Macquarie Heritage Study, 1993). An earlier study of the City of Lake Macquarie for the Hunter Regional Environmental Plan (REP) 1989 Heritage Study, identified it as one of the priority Conservation Areas within the city boundaries. The heritage significance of West Wallsend has been recognised by the inclusion of the West Wallsend Conservation Area in the Hunter REP (1989) and subsequently in Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014.

    Nevertheless, a number of changes have been occurring within the wider area including the construction of new residential and commercial developments, particularly within Cameron Park. These ongoing developments have the potential to have a significant impact on the economic viability and long-term heritage conservation of the West Wallsend local centre.

    In light of these changes, preparation of the West Wallsend Heritage Management Strategy, Streetscape Masterplan and Pedestrian Access Mobility Plan has occurred. These documents will establish a conceptual guide for Council to revitalise the local centre over the next 10-15 years utilising heritage as a key point of difference. The draft documents will also guide Council in delivering improved streetscapes, community/recreational facilities and movement networks, which have been identified as a priority by the community.

    What is the West Wallsend Heritage Master Plan?

    The West Wallsend Heritage Masterplan comprises a suite of draft documents to guide the long-term revitalisation of public realm development within the West Wallsend local centre.

    What is the draft West Walsend Heritage Management Strategy?

    The Draft West Wallsend Heritage Management Strategy is the primary document which establishes a framework to guide public development for Council which will deliver the long-term revitalisation of West Wallsend. The Strategy also provides an overview of the history of West Wallsend and how its heritage can be used as a point of difference to promote the local centre.

    The Strategy’s framework comprises of overarching objectives to achieve long-term revitalisation, and include:

    • Recognise – identify, assess and document West Wallsend’s heritage.
    • Conserve – Conserve and protect the heritage of West Wallsend, and meet statutory obligations.
    • Enhance – Celebrate the rich history of West Wallsend through an increase in awareness and appreciation by the local community and visitors alike, and use this point of difference to revitalise the township.   

    These objectives are to be realised through a number of tasks and actions within the Strategy.

    What is the draft West Wallsend Streetscape Masterplan?

    The draft Streetscape Masterplan is the secondary guiding document which provides concept plans to illustrate the key directions, improvements and proposed feature projects for public development to the West Wallsend local centre and suburb. The Streetscape Masterplan identifies three levels of geographical Study Area for the purpose of establishing and creating links and appropriate design responses, and include the:

    Outer Study Area: encompassing the outer boundaries of the West Wallsend suburb inclusive of the Historic No.1 Colliery Grounds to the north, Gregory Park and remnant bushland to the East, Appletree Grove Estate to the South, and Sugar Valley Golf Course to the west. At this scale, improvements are proposed for key movement networks such as footpaths, cycleway and road/traffic management.

    Core Study Area: includes the local centre of West Wallsend. At this scale analysis of roads, pedestrian links, street trees and connections to existing heritage sites, areas of interest, and community facilities are explored.

    The Central Precinct: Withers Street and Carrington Street form the Central Precinct of West Wallsend. These streets are the heart of the West Wallsend local centre. The heritage character of these streets largely remains today, with the northern side of Carrington Street and the western side of Withers Street featuring original building facades.

    Featured Projects: Proposed streetscape upgrades to Withers and Carrington Street, increased rest areas, street tree planting, interactive heritage trail known as the ‘Golden Mile’, Community Park on Carrington Street, restoring historic horse trough and street art, historic entry signage.

    What is the Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan

    The Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan (PAMP) is a supporting technical document which provides recommendations for improving accessibility for pedestrians. The PAMP has shaped the concept design of the Streetscape Masterplan.

    Will this draft Streetscape Masterplan impact upon my private property?

    This plan only impacts land either publicly owned or managed by Council. This includes lands such as road reserves (including footpaths), recreational parks/facilities, and bush reserves.

    Council is in the early stages of preparing a revised West Wallsend and Holmesville Heritage Conservation Area Plan within Lake Macquarie Development Control Plan 2014. This will set out revised development controls for any future development on privately owned land within the West Wallsend and Holmesville Heritage Conservation Area. The revision of the Heritage Area Plan will ensure development controls are sympathetic to the heritage significance of the area, while providing clearer guidance to the community and Council. Council will be undertaking initial engagement with the community over these controls, once the project has progressed in early 2021.  

    How will the West Wallsend Heritage Management Strategy actions and Streetscape Masterplan works be funded?

    Many of the actions within the West Wallsend Heritage Management Strategy can be undertaken as part of Council’s ongoing administrative operations. Many of the actions within the West Wallsend Heritage Management Strategy have been identified and included within existing or planned Council forward works programs, strategies and policies.

    Streetscape works and improvement identified within the West Wallsend Streetscape Masterplan are currently unfunded. However, the purpose of the West Wallsend Streetscape Masterplan is to establish a high-level conceptual guide for Council to consider when planning for future street works and associated improvements within West Wallsend. Additionally, the establishment of a high-level plan will place Council in a more favourable position when applying for future NSW Government grant opportunities.  

    Proposed Transport Management and Network Improvements / Initiatives

    Will West Wallsend’s roads be narrowed?

    A key message from initial community workshops was road narrowing would compromise the country feel of West Wallsend, while potentially leading to traffic congestion and risk to pedestrians.

    Council understands and recognises that the West Wallsend local centre is impacted by heavy haulage traffic, congestion and turning issues on Withers and Carrington Street, and dangerous high-speed driving down suburban streets. Therefore, it is important we reduce the speed of traffic to reduce risk to pedestrians and cyclists.

    How do we reduce speeding traffic?

    Putting up slower speed limit signs is only one measure and while enforcement is effective it tends to be quite inefficient due to the high labour content involved.

    Ideally vehicle speeds will be appropriate for the type and quality of the road, the mix of road users and the surrounding environment. Speed limits must reflect the function of a road and the prevailing road users at a given location. The setting of appropriate speed limits along with effective enforcement, plus the suitable design elements of the road infrastructure to reflect the desired speed limits are key elements of a successful speed management initiative.

    Council has established a number of traffic calming devices to slow vehicle speeds within the West Wallsend local centre including:

    • Speed humps and raised platforms – these techniques are best used as part of an area-wide approach to speed management rather than in isolation. They require careful design and placement to maximise their effectiveness. These
    • Gateway infrastructure treatments - these are used to mark a change in speed environment, including the transition from a high speed road to a lower speed environment such as a village. Gateway treatments usually include pavement markings to narrow the perceived width of road, large speed limit signs and pavement markings and other features (such as traffic islands and landscaping) to indicate that a threshold is being crossed.
    • Pavement narrowing - drivers tend to travel faster on wider roads, possibly because they perceive less risk of running into roadside objects. Narrower pavements, particularly on intersections tend to slow traffic. Even narrowing the perceived lane width using painted markings can achieve moderately slower speeds.

    There is no single best solution and a combination of all three speed reduction methods may need to be applied simultaneously.

    It is proposed to extend pedestrian kerbs at key intersections, will this make traffic turning circles worse? 

    In future, Council will undertake a full detailed design analysis including vehicle turning circles to ensure there are no turning issues, congestion or risk to pedestrians.  

    Will car parking be reduced on Withers or Carrington Streets?

    The draft Streetscape Masterplan illustrates extended pedestrian kerb crossings on key intersections on Withers and Carrington Street. These kerb crossing extensions occupy up to 10m from the intersection. Parking within 10m of an intersection is illegal, therefore these carparking spaces will be removed. This will improve overall pedestrian safety, vehicle turning circles and sight lines.

    Will improvements be made to how car parking is managed?

    It is intended that Council will explore options for establishing timed parking limits on Carrington and Withers Street to ensure customers, and delivery providers have priority in accessing retail and commercial services. Council will also explore options for painting dedicated parking lanes to optimise available car spaces.

    The Streetscape Masterplan illustrates that Carrington and Withers Streets will be a ‘shared vehicle and bicycle lane (40km p/h)’ will this create congestion and hazard risks?

    Council acknowledges that Carrington and Withers Streets experiences heavy traffic movement, nevertheless cyclists also utilise these streets currently. Therefore, this risk already exists. The intention of the shared vehicle and bicycle lane is to reduce this current risk. This will also be achieved by the proposed traffic reduction measures including raised thresholds, extended pedestrian kerb crossings on key intersections and a 40km p/h speed limit.

    The proposed cycleway network illustrates a dedicated/separated cycleway near or adjacent my property, will this remove on-street parking?

    The proposed cycleway network within the Streetscape Masterplan is a high-level conceptual plan which will guide future public work development in future. Therefore, the cycleway network and its design are subject to a detailed design process which would consider any loss of on-street parking with future consultation being undertaken with impacted landowners. Additionally, the dedicated/separated cycleway also illustrates two possible design outcomes with one design example retaining on-road car parking.

    Amenity impacts

    Will the proposed street trees and mass plantings impact businesses, electrical powerlines and vehicle/pedestrian sight lines?

    Street tree species have been carefully selected to reduce adverse impacts. This is illustrated particularly at main intersections, where tall narrow trees have been proposed, to avoid awnings and powerlines. These trees would be kept pruned to ensure clear visibility for road users and reduction of nuisance leaf litter.

    Mass plantings have also been carefully selected to improve absorption of stormwater runoff.

    Heritage impacts

    Will the future works Council undertake impact the heritage significance of West Wallsend, particularly on Carrington and Withers Streets?

    Council must also follow strict regulations on conserving and protecting heritage items and potential heritage items when undertaking public works. Any proposed future works must undergo a heritage impact assessment before work can be approved or commence. However, if an unknown heritage item or relic were uncovered during any future works, work would cease immediately and assessment be undertaken to protect and conserve this item or relic.  

    Future Implementation

    The draft Masterplan documents are not final and are still to be amended through this public exhibition, future design refinement and in response to further site investigations as required.

    Pending adoption, the implementation of this Masterplan shall be considered in the context of other adopted plans and strategies across our Local Government Area.

    Whilst a number of proposed actions, improvements and projects have been identified, Council has many and competing needs for funding allocations. Therefore, the timing of implementing these may vary depending on the inclusion of individual projects in our forward works program, or opportunities through future development or Federal and or State government grants.