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Planning Changes Proposed for NonUrban Land North Arm Cove

lenyThu, 16/02/2012 - 3:02pm

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure has released a Consultation Draft that if implemented will allow the re  subdivision of Non Urban Land in North Arm Cove. All the subdivided land from the Pacific Highway to the Village is involved; 2831 landowners including Walker Corporation and Great Lakes Council as landowners. This is not merely rezoning the non urban land to residential.

The proposed amendment amongst the 40 pages of information published states  that if 60% of landowners controlling 60% of the land agree by postal ballot to proposed Development Plans re subdivision may be possible. The issue is complex and because of the lack of infrastructure (water and sewerage ) available to North Arm Cove will probably take many years to resolve.

The new amendment will effect all Paper Subdivisions in NSW and Landcom is involved in the re subdivision of land at Blacktown City / Riverstone. Shoalhaven, Wollongong, Eurobodalla, Queenbeyan, Port Stephens, Lake Macqarie City, Great Lakes, Wyong, Maitland and Sutherland all having paper subdivision.

NACRA is presently forming a Sub Committee  to consider the implications for the existing Urban village of North Arm Cove and making enquiries with the Director of Planning GLC Lisa Shiff at GLC. There are many implications for our village as we know it. If you have any particular interest, knowledge or skill to offer please contact me Len Yearsley at 0249973262 or make your own submission. All details can be found at wwwplanning.nsw.gov.au/onexhibition under   'draft policies and plans'

Please click on the images to see the attached documents. (You may need to click twice.)

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This report was published by State Government Planning in March 2009 – less than two years ago.


March 2009


Land at North Arm Cove, on the foreshore of Port Stephens, was subdivided speculatively before the 1920s and the introduction of planning controls (these are now known as ‘paper subdivisions’). The area contains up to 2,700 small lots – urban in size though rural in zoning – that have never been able to have a house constructed on them.

These lots have been sold to many purchasers without having any building rights. In 2007, the Department of Planning included the land, together with adjoining land owned by developers, in draft growth area maps to be investigated to determine definitively whether potential existed for future urban development. Information accompanying the draft maps indicated the site had significant environmental and infrastructure constraints which would need to be overcome if any potential for development were to occur.

As part of this subsequent investigation, the Department has found a number of issues that preclude urban development on the land, including:

Transport: The area is isolated from existing settlements, infrastructure and services, being situated around 22km from Tea Gardens and 33km from the closest regional centre of Raymond Terrace. Development at this site would require considerable investment in public transport to adequately service the population.

Infrastructure: The isolated location of the site was also found to be a significant issue in regard to the availability of basic urban infrastructure such as water, sewerage, adequate roads and drainage. The cost of extending and providing services to the area was estimated at approximately $160,000 per lot, which would make the lots unaffordable.

Environmental sensitivity: The site is heavily vegetated with State significant vegetation communities, including 150 hectares of endangered ecological communities comprising of several threatened species. Urban development has the potential to destroy the site’s environmental value. For these reasons a significant proposed release area at North Arm Cove has been excluded from the final Mid North Coast Regional Strategy.

The Mid North Coast Regional Strategy identifies more than adequate supply of unconstrained land for housing in more accessible locations where infrastructure, transport and services can be more economically provided.

Given this news that the potential for the development of North Arm Cove is again on the table for consideration, are we now to assume:

  • That we are no longer isolated from infrastructure and services and that public transport is soon to magically appear at our doors?
  • That developers will be happy to dole out the $160k per lot despite half the village being up for sale with fully developed lots going for little more than twice this sum?
  •  That the environmental sensitivity of the Cove is no longer considered of any consequence by the government, so anything goes in the future?

Pat Brennan

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