Local Environmental Plans (LEP)

The Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 (LEP) is a legal document that provides rules and standards for uses on private and public land within the City of Newcastle local government area. The LEP is made up of a written document (instrument) and a series of accompanying maps.

How to view the LEP

The Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 is located on the NSW Legislation website, which consists of both a written document and supporting maps.

To view a particular map you will need to determine the map type (eg. LZN for land zoning, FSR for floor space ratio, HOB for height of buildings, etc) and the location code (eg. _004C), which is based on a map grid, set by the Department of Planning and Environment.

Once you have identified the applicable location code (eg. 004C) it will be the same for each map type.

Alternatively, the NSW Government has created a Planning Portal.  Here you can easily find information about a specific property, including planning rules, controls and development constraints.  The results direct you to an interactive map called a planning viewer which maps the planning controls affecting the property.

Interpreting LEP maps

A brief explanation of the application of each map type is provided below:

Interpreting the LEP maps

As of 1 December 2021, a reference to an Environment Protection zone E1, E2, E3 or E4 in a document should be taken to be a reference to a Conservation zone C1, C2, C3 or C4. For further information please see, Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Amendment (Land Use Zones) Order 2021.

Additional information and a 'Frequently Asked Questions' Fact Sheet is available on the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.

The zoning of land controls, what uses and activities are permitted or prohibited on a parcel of land and sets objectives for land within that zone.

The maximum FSR of buildings on a site is the ratio of the gross floor area of all buildings within the site, expressed as a factor of 1.  That is the total floor area on all levels of the building, minus any exclusions provided for in the definition of gross floor area, divided by the site area.

For example:

  • site area = 600m2
  • gross floor area = 300m2
  • calculation = 300m2 divided by 600m2 = 0.5

This provides for a floor space ratio of 0.5:1

See the 'Dictionary' in Newcastle LEP 2012 for a definition of ‘gross floor area'.

The maximum floor space ratio for a building is not to exceed the floor space ratio specified in the maps, except as where specified in the written document (ie. the Newcastle LEP 2012).

The 'building height' or 'height of building' means the vertical distance between ground level (existing) and the highest point of the building, including plant and lift overruns, but excluding communication devices, antennae, satellite dishes, masts, flagpoles, chimneys, flues and the like.  The 'height of a building' on any land is not to exceed the maximum height shown for the land on the map, except where specified in the written document (ie. the Newcastle LEP 2012).

Where no maximum height is identified in the map (eg. heritage conservation areas), the design of development should be taken from the height of surrounding development.

The size of any lot resulting from a subdivision of land to which this clause applies is not to be less than the minimum size shown on the map, except as where specified in the written document (ie. the Newcastle LEP 2012).

The maps identify:

  • conservation areas
  • heritage items
  • archaeological items
  • landscape items

that have heritage significance.  Proposed developments must take into consideration the relevant clauses of the Newcastle LEP 2012.

Soils containing highly acidic soil layers resulting from the aeration of soil materials that are rich in iron sulphides, primarily pyrite.  Newcastle LEP 2012 provides further guidance as to when an Acid Sulfate Plan is required.

Land identified in the map is subject to specific controls in the Newcastle LEP 2012 and Newcastle Development Control Plan (DCP 2012).  The controls aim to provide orderly development and facilitate the provision of public access and open space in the area.

Land identified in the map, is land that the nominated Authority in Clause 5.1 may be required to acquire under Division 3 of Part 2 of the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (the owner-initiated acquisition provisions).

Land identified as a 'Key Site' in the map, is subject to specific assessment criteria, for certain development, as specified in Clause 7.5 of Newcastle Local Environmental Plan (LEP 2012).

Land identified in the map contains additional local provisions that apply to Urban Release areas.  Details can be found in Part 8 of the Newcastle LEP 2012.

The above information is also available by purchasing a S10.7 Planning Certificate for a specific parcel of land.

Amending Newcastle LEP 2012

Amending City of Newcastle’s (CN) LEP is a legal process which must be carried out in accordance with Part 3 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The requirements and stages of amending a LEP, which is referred to as the Gateway Process, is outlined on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment's website, under the ‘Plans For Your Area’ tab.

How can the LEP be amended?

The first step in the rezoning process is to contact CN's planning staff and arrange a meeting, as this will assist you in deciding whether to proceed, based on the following considerations:

  • Is an amendment necessary to enable your proposed activity or is there an alternative means available?
  • Is the proposed amendment the preferred mechanism for amending the LEP, (ie amendment to either Clauses, Schedules, or Maps) taking into account the broader implications of such an amendment?
  • Would the amendment have strategic merit and be consistent with State, Regional and Local strategies and policies?
  • Are there any known constraints and risks (eg flooding, contamination, bushfire, etc) that would preclude an amendment from proceeding, or are further studies required to determine this?
  • To seek clarification of the potential constraints or risks on a specific parcel of land please also refer to the following CN web pages:  S10.7 Planning certificates Contaminated land; and  Flooding.

To make a formal request to amend the Newcastle LEP 2012, applicants are required to submit an application through the NSW Planning Portal.  You will need to register and verify your account.  If you already have an account, simply login. 

You will require the following documents to complete your submission:

Upon acceptance of initial request, you will be invoiced for Stage A fees in accordance with City of Newcastle's Fees and Charges.

CN staff will be guided by our Amendment Procedure and assess the request through an internal LEP assessment panel, which includes a meeting with applicants to clarify any unresolved matters.  The panel undertakes a comprehensive assessment to ensure all necessary matters are adequately addressed by the applicant’s written submission prior to being considered by the elected Council.

Upon payment of a Stage B fee as per  CN's Fees and Charges staff will prepare and report a Planning Proposal for Council’s endorsement prior to forwarding this to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Where supported by Council elect, a Planning Proposal is forwarded to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for determination by the Department’s Gateway Panel.

Gateway determination identifies if the proposed amendment is supported in principle by the Minister for Planning and any conditions with respect to the following:

  • any further studies to be prepared prior to public exhibition
  • which government agencies to consult
  • the length of the public exhibition period
  • whether a public hearing is required
  • if Council has delegations to prepare the draft amendment
  • the timeframe for completing the process.

Upon payment of the Stage C fee as per  CN's Fees and Charges staff will implement the requirements of the gateway determination.  Pending the outcomes of this process a draft LEP amendment will be prepared for the Minister for Planning to make.

To view the details and progress of all planning proposals that CN has forwarded to the Department of Planning, Inudstry and Environment for gateway determination follow the links to the ‘LEP Tracking System’ on the  Department of Planning and Environment's website.

NSW Legislation

NSW State Government provides a framework for the development of planning policies at the local government level through a number of agencies and laws.

Here are some useful links to web pages of State government agencies where you can directly reference information on State planning policies and legislation applying to urban and regional areas.

  • NSW Legislation - Includes Acts and statutory instruments (such as regulations and environmental planning instruments) provided by the Parliamentary Counsel's Office. Look up legislation currently in force, archives, FAQs and exposure drafts.
  • NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment - State Environmental Planning Policies, metropolitan and regional land use strategies, Basix, planning reform, environmental planning legislation.
  • NSW Environment, Energy and Science - cares for and protects NSW's environment and heritage, which includes the natural environment, Aboriginal country, culture and heritage, and built heritage.