Latest 20-year regional plan on exhibition until March

UDIA Central Coast Chair, Caine King, Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, and Business NSW Central Coast Regional Director, Paula Martin, at the launch of the new Regional Plan.

Tuggerah has been named as a regional city and Warnervale (emerging) and Wyong as strategic centres in a revisited Regional Plan for the Central Coast announced on Monday, December 6.

Building on the Central Coast Regional Plan 2036, which was released in 2016, the State Government has extended its vision in this revised plan, largely influenced by changes in the way people work and live following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launched by Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, Business NSW Central Coast Regional, Director, Paula Martin, and Chair of the Central Coast Chapter of Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), Caine King, the Draft Central Coast Regional Plan 2041 gives an updated vision for the next 20 years, focussing on what it is calling a “15-minute region”.

The premise is to concentrate on taking a holistic approach to neighbourhoods and ensure that planning, jobs, infrastructure and housing decisions are co-ordinated with the aim of providing everything residents need within a 15-minute walk, cycle or drive from their home.

The government is encouraging community feedback on the revised draft plan before March 4 next year.

“This is our blueprint to ensure the Central Coast prospers and the community’s feedback is critical to make sure we get it right,” Crouch said at the launch.

“Tourism will play a major role in helping our region recover from the pandemic, which is why we proposed strategies to keep public transport operating later and allow bars and galleries to open longer in our tourist hotspots.

“Housing affordability is a priority and the plan would set up a group of housing experts and service providers to track and supply the land, housing and infrastructure needed for communities to thrive.”

King said the Central Coast is unique in having one Regional Plan, one Local Government Authority and one Local Aboriginal Land Council.

“We must capitalise on this opportunity to act in a cooperative manner to deliver the jobs and housing needed on the Central Coast,” he said.

“Our members are up to the challenge of building smarter and more sustainable and compact communities, where daily activities are contained within a 15-minute walk or ride.

“We need this strategic planning developed for both future green field and brown field developments, to provide direction and confidence for the development industry.”

King said the plan sets achievable targets for infrastructure and affordable housing.

It also outlines the work that needs to be done to unlock land and make it developer ready, he said.

Martin said the Central Coast is blessed with natural endowments, a talented workforce and an enviable lifestyle.

“This plan will build our region so that it can accommodate regional growth in an inclusive and sustainable way,” she said.

“The last 18 months gave us a taste of how our local towns benefit from local spend when our large commuter base work from home.

“We want to see these economic benefits become permanent through local jobs creation and develop housing that meets the changing demographic of our population.”

Martin said it was important for a range of jobs to be offered in the region to support the work, live and play 15-minute scenario.

The plan’s objectives centre on jobs, Aboriginal self-determination, housing, green infrastructure and net zero emissions.

The plan names Gosford as the region’s metropolitan capital and divides the region into four districts – Narara (incorporating greater Gosford and the Woy Woy Peninsula), Tuggerah, (from south of Killarney Vale to just north of Wyong), Central Lakes (incorporating Warnervale and north to beyond Morisset) and Watagan, which includes the area to the west of the region including Jilliby, Kulnura, Mangrove Mountain and Somersby.

The plan outlines strategic direction for land-use decisions that grow jobs, increase supply of diverse housing and build infrastructure to ensure most of what people need is near where they live in each of the major centres within each district.

A connection to environment is at its core with details on better linking people to parks, green and blue public spaces and a close collaboration with the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council aims to help the Darkinjung people achieve the aspirations they have for their land, the plan says.

Crouch described Warnervale as a “key economic driver” for the region and a prime example of planning for the “15-minute” scenario.

Nine principles for developing the Warnervale centre include: embellishing the public domain and open space; prioritising walking and cycling; creating an accessible, active and vibrant town centre; promoting active and public transport options; orienting activity towards the street; providing higher density living adjacent to the town centre; supplying a mix of housing typologies; establishing a robust structure plan; and providing a staged approach to development.

Unlocking the potential of the Warnervale growth area will include the preparation of a masterplan by Central Coast Council to satisfy the recommendations of the review of the Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Act 1996.

“The masterplan will identify potential opportunities for expanded aviation activities including freight and logistics, joy flights and parachute jumps, training and education, maintenance and servicing,” the plan says.

The regional plan will leverage connectivity to the Hunter allowing business to travel with ease to and from the Coast.

You have until midnight on Friday March 4, 2022, to have your say on the draft plan.

It is available for viewing at

Terry Collins