Section C11 Development adjoining laneways

Newcastle laneways were mainly constructed in urban areas as 'night soil' lanes to collect sewerage from pit toilets in the backyards of properties before public sewage systems were constructed and piped to treatment plants. They remain important elements in the heritage fabric of urban areas and provide useful connectivity between streets and public spaces. However, laneways are traditionally narrow and cannot be used in the same way as a standard local public road would. For example, most laneways are unable to support waste servicing, on-street car parking, pedestrian and bicycle paths and bus services. Many lanes are unnamed within the overall movement network.

Narrow laneway widths require consideration of built form elements where they adjoin the laneway to avoid a sense of enclosure and to ensure vehicles have convenient access within the laneway where appropriate.

Laneways are categorised into three types, Type A, B and C. The laneway width determines its type, how it functions and how it services the community. For example, Type C laneways are of a width capable of supporting both vehicle and pedestrian movements whilst Type A laneways have a width capable of only supporting pedestrian movement.

It is important that development a laneway does not increase safety risk to both the public (users of the lane) and residents (within the property) eg. alcoves, undefined spaces, poorly designed pedestrian entries and garages, landscaping treatments, natural surveillance and materials that can remove graffiti easily. Section C7 Safety and security includes guidance for good urban design and the incorporation of CPTED principles in development.

This section applies to all land which adjoins a laneway.

This section applies to all development consisting of:

  • commercial premises
  • industry
  • residential accommodation and ancillary development
  • subdivision.

  • Austroads Publications and Guides
  • NSW Address Policy and User Manual, 2021, Geographical Names Board of New South Wales
  • Standard Drawings, City of Newcastle
  • Stormwater and Water Efficiency for Development
  • NSW Speed Zoning Standards

  1. Ensure laneways are able to accommodate their intended function.
  2. Ensure safe vehicular, pedestrian and cyclist entry and exit to laneways.
  3. Ensure development fronting laneways is compatible with the intended local streetscape.

A word or expression used has the same meaning as it has in Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 (LEP 2012), unless otherwise defined. Other words and expressions include:

  • Carriageway – is that portion of a road or bridge devoted to the use of vehicles, inclusive of shoulders and auxiliary lanes.

  • Footpath – is the paved area in a footway.

  • Footway – is the area reserved for the movement of pedestrians and legal cyclists. It may also accommodate utilities, footpaths, stormwater flows, street lighting poles and plantings.

  • Laneway – means a narrow road and is either a:
      1. Council Laneway - a laneway that has been dedicated as public road or one which Council has resolved to accept responsibility for 'care and control'.
      2. Private Laneway - a laneway that is not a council laneway.

  • Road/street reserve – is the area 'reserved' for facilities such as roads, footpaths, and associated features that may be constructed for public travel. It is the total area between property boundaries. This is the land that is referred to as the 'public road' within the NSW Roads Act 1993. It can include the public roadway or footpath, including the nature strip or verge.

  • Shared Zone – is a road or network of roads or a road related area where space is shared safely by vehicles and pedestrians and where pedestrian priority and quality of life take precedence over ease of vehicle movement.

Development category

Application requirements

Explanatory notes

Development with rear access to a laneway.

Where a development relies on a laneway for waste servicing, vehicle access, or pedestrian access, it must demonstrate that:

  • vehicles can safely enter and exit the property, in accordance with Australian Standard AS2890.1
  • the development can maintain safe vehicle manoeuvrability
  • appropriate provision is made for vehicular and pedestrian access; waste collection; and mail delivery from the laneway, where it meets the minimum construction standards.

Swept path diagrams may be required to demonstrate safe vehicle access and justify a proposed laneway setback.

This analysis may be undertaken using swept path templates or swept path diagrams from a recognised computer program.

Swept path analysis should be undertaken by a suitably qualified professional, such as traffic engineer.


  1. Ensure development demonstrates legal access to laneways.
  2. Ensure laneways are suitable for their intended function.
  3. Ensure that development resulting in increased intensity of laneway usage includes the necessary upgrades to bring the laneways up to an acceptable standard, with considerations for safety, accessibility, and functionality for all users.
  4. Ensure that development adjoining laneways reinforces their function and is compatible with the local context.
  5. Ensure rear lanes support pedestrian and other active methods of travel and vehicular access and waste collection where appropriate.
  6. Promote laneways as one-way shared-zones, with no on-street car parking.

Controls (C)

Acceptable solutions (AS)

Explanatory notes

C-1. Development has demonstrated legal access to laneways.

AS-1. The laneway has been dedicated and meets or is capable of being upgraded, at no cost to City of Newcastle (CN), to the relevant construction standard.

AS-2. For private laneways, the written consent of the laneway owner is provided for its use and upgrading.

A person may lodge a customer request to seek the dedication of a laneway. CN will consider the request in accordance with the Road Acquisitions and Disposals Procedure. Consideration of timeframes for investigation, public consultation and report to CN prior to formal dedication processes is involved.

C-2. Laneways are consistent with public laneway standards and can accommodate their intended function.

AS-1. Laneways across Newcastle local government area are categorised into three types as listed in Table C11.01 below:


Road reserve width


Type A

Less than 3m

Pedestrian use only

Type B

3m - 6m

Vehicular (light vehicle) only

Type C

Greater than 6m

Pedestrian and vehicular use

Table C11.01: Laneway types and function

AS-2. Laneways used for vehicle access shall be upgraded in accordance with the relevant standard with no cost to CN.

AS-3. Laneways are designed to be shared zones.

Laneways are categorised into three types based on construction standard. Different laneway types perform different functions.

Refer to CN's website for construction standards for Type A and B laneway types. For Type C laneways contact CN. 

Associated technical manual/s

  • Austroads Publications and Guides
  • Standard Drawings, City of Newcastle
  • NSW Address Policy and User Manual, 2021, Geographical Names Board of New South Wales
  • Stormwater and Water Efficiency for Development

C-3. Development adjoining a laneway has a setback that can accommodate vehicles entering and exiting the garage in a safe manner.

AS-1. The rear setback accommodates a swept path in accordance with Australia Standard AS2890.1.

AS-2. The setback to a rear lane is zero metres if vehicular access complies with Australian Standard AS2890.1.

AS-3. Where the prevailing setback to a laneway is greater than zero metres, or a greater setback is required for vehicular access, setbacks are consistent with adjacent development and the prevailing laneway setback.

Australian Standard AS2890.1 requires that a garage on a laneway is setback 5.6m - 7m from the boundary on the opposite side of the laneway depending on doorway width of garage.

C-4. Development adjoining a Type A or B laneway reinforces the function of the laneway as a secondary frontage and reinforces the primary street frontage as the principal street address.

AS-1. The side of the building fronting the laneway does not contain the principal entrance to a dwelling and has the appearance of a side or rear facade.

AS-2. There is an access handle to the primary street frontage that is:

    1. at least 3m wide where vehicular and pedestrian access is required
    2. at least 1m wide where pedestrian access only is required.

AS-3. The frontage makes suitable provision for waste collection and mail delivery from the primary street frontage.

Refer to Section D2 for setbacks on ancillary development.

C-5. Development adjoining a Type C laneway is compatible with the intended local streetscape and provides natural surveillance of the street.

AS-1. The rear setback is compatible with the existing adjoining setback to the laneway.

AS-2. Dwellings at ground level have a covered front door and a window to a habitable room facing the laneway.

AS-3. Provision is made for vehicular and pedestrian access; waste collection; and mail delivery from the laneway, where it meets the minimum construction standards for a Type C laneway (see CN's website for construction standards).

AS-4. If the condition of the Type C laneway is not or could not be made suitable to support the development, then an appropriate access handle to the primary road frontage will be required compliant with widths specified in C-4 above.

AS-5. Where the prevailing setback to a laneway is greater than zero metres, or a greater setback is required for vehicular access, setbacks are consistent with adjacent development and the prevailing laneway setback.

Note: Construction standards are under consideration. In the interim, contact CN and AusPost to determine if the Type C lane is already being used or capable of being used (in its current condition or with upgrades) for the provision of addresses and mail deliveries, waste collection and pedestrian movement. 

C-6. Development has safe, useable access to streets and services.

AS-1. Laneways may be used for stormwater disposal, where a connection to an existing drainage system is available in accordance with discharge controls.

AS-2. The application demonstrates that vehicles can safely enter and exit the property, in accordance with Australian Standard AS2890.1.

AS-3 The development is able to maintain safe vehicle manoeuvrability.


C-7. Street lighting is appropriate to the scale and use of the laneway and provides opportunity for natural surveillance from adjoining developments.

AS-1. Appropriate lighting is installed for safety and security purposes

AS-2. Appropriate drainage grates are installed to cater for pedestrian and cyclist use.


C-8. Suitable provision for waste collection is typically supplied from a principal street. However, where a rear lane has provision for waste collection by CN, the collection point is to be from the rear lane.

AS-1. Where appropriate, development provides for waste collection facilities from the rear lane in accordance with Section C6 Waste Management.


C-9. CN, with endorsement from Transport for NSW, may change the traffic conditions in a laneway, including direction of travel, speed and parking arrangements.

AS-1. Laneways are designed to be shared zones.

Refer to NSW Speed Zoning Standards, for further detail on Shared Zone requirements.