Business and commercial centres service the retail and commercial needs of residents. However, they also provide a range of other functions imperative to the economic, social and environmental health. Commercial and business centres provide opportunities for social interaction and engagement, recreation and entertainment. This occurs formally in designated venues such as hotels, cafes and restaurants and informally and spontaneously on the street, in public places and shopping centres.

Business and commercial centres ensure that most residents have access to some retail and commercial uses.

Achieving an appropriate scale of commercial and business uses is important.  Not all scales are appropriate in all areas of Newcastle.  This can be because they detract from a functional or desired hierarchy, or because they generate adverse impacts, including amenity impacts on surrounding uses – particularly where such uses are residential or other sensitive land uses.

At the small scale, neighbourhood centres meet the daily and weekly needs of local residents and workers with small scale retail, community and service facilities. These centres can take pressure off the Newcastle city centre for lower order needs while reducing private vehicle trips. Examples of these are Bar Beach, Fletcher - Kurraka Drive / Tibin Drive and Kotara - Joslin Street. These centres should be designed to encourage walking and cycling rather than using the private vehicle.

Local centres are identified as providing a local centre service function. A local centre (minor) meets the daily and weekly needs of local residents with a limited range of retail, community and service facilities. Examples of these are Carrington, Georgetown, New Lambton and Stockton. A local centre (major) provides a broader range of services to a greater number of people within a wider catchment. These serve as a shopping and business centre including health and professional services, supermarket or other retail anchor, mixed with medium and higher density residential.

A strategic centre is a centre serving local and regional community needs in a centralised (and established) location. Examples are Newcastle city centre and Kotara. These strategic centres service the Hunter region with higher order administration, education, health services, cultural and recreational facilities with high density commercial and residential uses.

The urban form of these business and commercial centres contributes to the identity and visitors’ perception of a place.

The Newcastle After Dark: Night-time Economy Strategy, 2018 guides the development of the city’s night-time economy. It identifies nightlife precincts in East End, Civic-CBD, West End, Hamilton, Darby Street, Honeysuckle, and Junction-Merewether. Each precinct has its own significant sense of local character.

This section applies to all land zoned:

  • R4 High Density Residential
  • E1 Local Centre
  • E3 Productivity Support
  • MU1 Mixed Use

This section applies to all development consisting of:

  • Commercial premises
  • Wholesale suppliers
  • Registered clubs
  • Food and drink premises
  • Function centres
  • Service stations
  • Amusement centre
  • Entertainment facility
  • Veterinary hospital
  • Tourist and visitor accommodation

Where a development involves refurbishment works or alterations/additions to existing buildings, new elements are to meet requirements.

For development involving heritage items or heritage conservation areas identified under Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 (LEP 2012), a merit assessment will be undertaken to ensure the outcomes sought are balanced with heritage conservation outcomes.

Additional information:

  • Newcastle After Dark, Night-time Economy Strategy, 2018, City of Newcastle

  1. Ensure commercial development integrates with the surrounding environment and built form and makes a positive contribution to local context.
  2. Enable and support the Newcastle After Dark vision as outlined in the Newcastle After Dark, Night-time Economy Strategy by limiting night-time and late-night trading to the specific precincts identified in the Strategy.
  3. Promote street activation which encourages pedestrian traffic and ensures a safe and accessible environment.
  4. Ensure residential development has a high level of privacy, comfort, security, amenity and liveability. 
  5. Promote the adoption of best practice water efficiency and energy efficiency measures to create healthy work environments.

Urban Design Review Panel  

Proposals involving larger development which, by virtue of their location or scale, are likely to have a significant impact within the city may be referred to the Urban Design Review Panel for independent advice.

In some instances, there will be the opportunity to discuss your proposal directly with the panel prior to lodgement of a development application (DA). They will be able to offer independent advice regarding the proposal and their recommendations and advice will be considered when assessing the development.

A word or expression has the same meaning as it has in LEP 2012, unless otherwise defined. Other words and expressions include:

  • Low Impact Venue - A venue will be classified as low impact or otherwise throughout the development assessment process based on relevant matters for consideration. A low impact venue may be a small bar or smaller local business that contains low levels of impact on the surrounding environment. A Pub (as defined under LEP 2012) is not a low impact venue and would automatically be classified otherwise due to potential for larger or more cumulative impacts on the surrounding environment.

  • Shopping trolley – means a basket, frame or flat base on wheels (or castors), usually of metal construction that is provided by a business for customers to transport items within the store and within any car parking area allocated for use by customers of the store.

Development category

Application requirements

Explanatory notes

All applications that include the erection of a new structure or the extension of an existing structure may require a 3D model. 

The format should be compatible to that used by City of Newcastle (CN). Format specification requirements for the model can be provided by CN's Geospatial Information Services team.

The 3D Model should be used to illustrate the following information: 

  • context 'before' and 'after' streetscape drawings/images and/or photomontages;
  • shadow diagrams; and 
  • assessment of impact on view corridors.

Any business that offers the use of a shopping trolley to their customers.

A management plan is required for all businesses offering the use of trolleys to their customers.

See sub-section 17.0 Shopping trolleys for further detail on minimum requirements for this plan.


Any development that may require an acoustic report or a noise impact assessment.

An acoustic report or noise impact assessment is warranted when a noise-producing development is proposed near noise-sensitive areas or, conversely, when a noise-sensitive development is proposed in a noisy area.

An acoustic report should: 

  • consider and apply relevant noise guidelines or policies – for example, those nominated by planning authorities in planning instruments (e.g. development control plans and/or planning approvals) or in pre-DA meetings for a development
  • clearly describe assessment methodologies and include calculation data
  • adequately consider relevant factors such as the effects of weather, extraneous noise sources, potentially annoying characteristics of noise sources and operating conditions at the time of measurements
  • ensure any recommendations concerning acoustic attenuation are feasible and can be practically implemented.   

A noise-sensitive development may include but is not limited to residential accommodation, educational establishments, early education and childcare facility, health services facility, place of public worship or the like. 

More guidance can be found in the Noise Guide for Local Government, 2023 (NSW Environment Protection Authority) and, Approved Methods for the Measurement and Analysis of Environmental Noise in NSW, 2022 (NSW Environment Protection Authority).

All forms of development, including a change of use, if there is a built form element.


Shadow diagrams are to be supplied that graphically indicate how the requirements in sub-section 12.0 of this section have been achieved.  

Shadow diagrams must show the effect in plan and elevation view of the existing and proposed overshadowing for June 21 at hourly intervals between 9:00am and 3:00pm.  

The shadow diagrams must:  

  • be drawn to an appropriate scale (generally 1:100 or 1:200) 
  • use different colours or styles to clearly differentiate between existing and proposed shadows 
  • indicate the footprint of neighbouring buildings impacted by existing and/or proposed shadowing, including the location of any windows, skylights, private open space/s, clothes drying areas, solar panels and/or solar hot water systems
  • specify the use of the rooms that have windows or skylights that are impacted by the existing or proposed shadowing
  • indicate and use true north point (not magnetic north)
  • include elevation views where windows of living areas are impacted.

3D montages, 3D models, constraints mapping and other forms of visual representation can be submitted to demonstrate compliance with these requirements. 

An application for development, including a change of use involving building work.

An access report to identify relevant matters to be addressed at the construction certificate stage, in circumstances where access constitutes a substantive public interest aspect of a proposal. 

Access reports should be prepared by a suitably qualified access consultant, such as a person appropriately accredited by the Association of Consultants in Access Australia Inc.


The Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 applies to any part of a building impacted by the application for a change of use. This section does not require anything beyond the standard, but does require information on how the standard will be met through the building design in accordance with these application requirements. There may also be other standards under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 relevant to the public interest assessment of a proposal, such as the Disability Standards for Education 2005.

An application for a change of use not involving building work.

An access report to consider access matters related to a proposal, in circumstances where access constitutes a substantive public interest aspect of the proposal. 

Access reports should be prepared by a suitably qualified access consultant, such as a person appropriately accredited by the Association of Consultants in Access Australia Inc.


A change of use not involving building works may generate public interest considerations relevant to the assessment of a DA, including in circumstances where it is apparent that a building may not comply with the access requirements of the Building Code of Australia.


  1. Ensure development integrates with the surrounding environment and built form and makes a positive contribution to the local context.
  2. Maximise opportunities for walking and cycling and where possible.
  3. Promote lot consolidation and ensure development does not result in isolated sites. 

Controls (C)

Explanatory notes

C-1. Within established areas the front setback is consistent with those of adjoining development. Some variations to the prevailing setbacks can be considered particularly where such variations are used to create streetscape variety and interest.


C-2. Development of a site where the adjoining properties are vacant is to have a front building setback of a minimum 3m, increasing to a minimum of 6m where building height exceeds 8m.

C-3. Development facilitates pedestrian access from the street frontage and provides individual identity to buildings.

C-4. Development is to provide footpaths for the full width of any site frontage. Where the proposed footpath will adjoin and connect to an existing or approved footpath on an adjoining site, the width of the proposed footpath is to match this footpath width. See C2 Movement Networks for detail.

As per Section C2 Movement networks, when determining the requirement for footpaths, considerations by CN may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • the development type, scale and density 
  • planned or likely intensification of an area 
  • adjoining or surrounding footpath infrastructure and surface treatments
  • condition of any existing footpath and need for replacement
  • CN forecasted infrastructure and asset projects or capital works programs
  • topography of the road reserve along subject site frontage 
  • the presence of any utilities, services, assets, street trees, street furniture or the like. 
  • CN public domain plans and standard drawings for footpaths.

For more intensive developments, it may be a CN requirement to extend footways beyond the site frontage such as to connect to public transport or nearby services to support the development.

C-5. Development is not to result in the creation of an isolated site that could have been developed in compliance with the relevant planning controls. Appropriate documentary evidence is required to demonstrate that a genuine and reasonable attempt has been made to purchase an isolated site based on a fair market value.


C-6. Where amalgamation of the isolated site is not feasible, applicants will be required to demonstrate that an orderly and economic use and development of the separate sites can be achieved.


C-7. The development of existing isolated sites is not to detract from the character of the streetscape and is to achieve a satisfactory level of amenity including solar access, visual and acoustic privacy. Development of existing isolated sites may not achieve the maximum potential, particularly height and floor space ratio, and will be assessed on merit.


C-8. Where adjacent sites are developing concurrently, site planning options for development as an amalgamated site are to be explored.



  1. Development is consistent with and complements the desired built form prevailing in the street and local area.
  2. Setbacks maintain the amenity and privacy of public spaces and adjoining dwellings and their private open space.

Controls (C)

Explanatory notes

C-1. Design is to:
  1. ensure adequate natural light, ventilation and privacy between buildings
  2. protect public tree assets
  3. consider the impact on solar access and private open space of adjoining dwellings.

Side and rear setbacks are also specified Part E – Places and Precincts.

Commercial enterprises undertaken off site require approvals. This includes the use of public footpaths.


  1. Ensure activation of street frontages enables a safe and accessible environment.
  2. Attract pedestrian traffic along ground floor street frontages in business and employment zones.

Controls (C)

Acceptable solutions (AS)

Explanatory notes

C-1. Activated street edges are to be provided at the interface to the public domain at ground level.



C-2. Ground floor retail and business uses provide multiple pedestrian accesses along the street frontage.


An ‘active frontage' is one that promotes activity on the street, with transparent glazing to allow unobstructed views from the adjacent footpath to at least a depth of 6m within the building. Clearly defined entrances, windows and shop fronts are elements of a building facade that can contribute to an active street frontage.

C-3. There is a visual connection into uses at ground level, and solid walls or covered glazing for lengths greater than 3m are avoided.

C-4. A minimum of 50% of a building’s primary frontage is an ‘active frontage’, except in the Newcastle city centre where this is to be a minimum of 70% of a building’s primary frontage.


C-5. External works complement the character of the streetscape. 

AS-1. Footpath widening is encouraged at intersections adjacent to corner buildings, providing for the extension of civic or commercial activity such as outdoor eating, rest areas and meeting places. 

AS-2. Encourage the creation of pedestrian spaces provided with seating and landscape treatment where possible to reinforce the existing network and land use patterns. 

C-6. Outdoor dining considers potential impacts on the amenity of surrounding residences and businesses.


Refer to CN's Outdoor Trading Policy (as amended).


  1. Ensure development responds to its context and makes a positive contribution towards the desired streetscape.
  2. Building facades and exteriors shall be designed to: 
    1. contribute positively to the streetscape
    2. be of high visual quality
    3. incorporate a sensitive mix of colours, materials, treatments and finishes that are sympathetic to the site's context
    4. use durable and energy efficient materials
    5. avoid unsightly visually dominating features
    6. minimise noise transmission.

Controls (C)

Explanatory notes

C-1. Design and construct buildings to consider features of existing areas, and integrate these into the development, such as:
  1. corner feature sites
  2. traditional street and lane patterns
  3. pedestrian walkways and other public open space areas
  4. pavement design, including materials and finishes, kerb and gutter treatment
  5. fine grain architectural detail.

Subject to the extent and nature of glazing and reflective materials used, a reflectivity report may be required that analyses potential solar glare from the proposed development on pedestrians or motorists. See Section B6 Urban heat for further detail. 

C-2. Visually integrate development with the surrounding area and adjoining buildings through appropriate design, including articulation that responds to datum lines of key components of adjoining buildings such as street wall height, street setback, awnings, parapets, cornice lines and setbacks above street wall height. 

C-3. Buildings at the junction of street corners:
  1. incorporate an elevation which directly faces the corner 
  2. provide a 4m by 4m truncation, to be dedicated as road reserve 
  3. incorporate a 4m by 4m concave building chamfer at the corner for the full height of the building 
  4. provide a well-designed facade, including:
  5. windows and openings 
  6. pedestrian entrances, particularly on the building chamfer 
  7. projections and articulation.

C-4. Buildings are to have a maximum floor plate of 1200m² before buildings need to be split and identified as separate building elements.

C-5. The continuous length of a single building on any elevation is not to exceed 60m. Where the building length is proposed to be greater than 60m, a recessed or articulated area is to be provided sufficient to present to the street as a separate building.

C-6. Monolithic structures with repetitive elements are to be avoided by segmenting building facades into vertical elements with individual modulations. 

C-7. Large expanses of blank, unarticulated facades of the same or similar material, including reflective glass, are to be avoided.

C-8. Roof lines are to be designed to create a visually interesting skyline with roof plant and lift overrun integrated into the overall architectural design of the building.

C-9. Development shall minimise the use of virgin materials, maximise energy efficient materials and use durable materials and finishes to reduce ongoing maintenance costs. Subject to compatibility with the desired character of the area, face brickwork, stone, concrete and glass are encouraged.

C-10. Exterior facades are designed to minimise the opportunity for sound transmission. Depending on surrounding land uses and the nature of the proposal, an acoustic report may be requested demonstrating how sound transmission is minimised.

C-11. Building design is to integrate ramps and lifting devices for stairs, or ramps at an entrance, without requiring users to travel significantly greater distances than people without a disability.


  1. Buildings use natural cross ventilation to reduce air conditioning use and provide healthy work environments with good daylight and solar access.
  2. Workplaces provide accessible open space for staff and employees.
  3. Ensure solar access enables passive solar heating in winter and provides a healthy indoor environment.
  4. Ensure development retains reasonable levels of solar access to neighbouring properties and their solar panels and private open space.
  5. Provide awareness of the obligations under the Commonwealth's Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
  6. Concentrate the night-time (after 9pm) and late-night (after 12am - midnight) economy in the seven nightlife precincts: East End, Civic-CBD, West End, Hamilton, Darby Street, Honeysuckle, and Junction-Merewether and support safe and activated public places after dark.
  7. Ensure that commercial development does not generate adverse amenity impacts on residential and other sensitive land uses.

Controls (C)

Acceptable solutions (AS)

C-1. Workplaces should be designed and configured to maximise equitable access to daylight.


C-2. Maximise natural daylight access by limiting enclosed spaces and rooms along the building perimeter.

C-3. Promote natural cross ventilation with building design using narrow floor plates and operable windows on opposing facades.

C-4. Opening windows should be located away from site conditions that would lead to them not being opened or used, examples being busy roads, noisy equipment, and sources of odour.

C-5. Locate and design communal open space to benefit from daylight and natural ventilation.

C-6. Provide natural ventilation to basement parking that has external walls above ground level.

C-7. For an adjoining dwelling, the living room window and principal private open space receives at least two hours of direct sunlight between 9am and 3pm on winter solstice. Where the window or principal area of private open space is already overshadowed, solar access is not further reduced.

C-8. Give consideration to neighbouring properties’ solar panels and the loss of sunlight to these panels from any development proposal, having regard to the performance, efficiency, economic viability and reasonableness of their location.

AS-1. Where reasonably practicable sunlight to any existing solar panels should not be reduced to less than two hours between 9am and 3pm on 21 June.

C-9. An application for development including change of use is to provide an access report in accordance with the application requirements above.  


C-10. Late-night development (after 12am - midnight) is not located outside the seven nightlife precincts identified in the Newcastle After Dark, Night-time Economy Strategy.


C-11. Growth in the late-night economy must represent low impact venues to facilitate continued progress in venue diversity.



  1. Encourage the sharing of views while not restricting the reasonable development potential of a site.
  2. Minimise direct overlooking of adjoining residences.

Controls (C)

Explanatory notes

C-1. Existing views from dwellings are not substantially affected where it is reasonable to design for the sharing of views.

Where views are potentially compromised, an assessment of the view loss must be undertaken having regard to ‘Views – General Principles’ of the NSW Land and Environment Court (presently Tenacity Consulting v Warringah Council [2004] NSWLEC 140).  

Refer to Section E1 Built and landscape heritage and Section E2 Heritage conservation areas.

C-2. Grand vistas and views from dwellings which are recognised and valued by the community are not unreasonably obscured by development.

C-3. Views to heritage or familiar dominant landmarks from dwellings are not unreasonably obscured.

C-4. A window in any part of an existing commercial premises being altered or added has a privacy screen for any part of the window less than 1.5m above the finished floor level of each storey if:
  1. the window faces a building used for residential accommodation on an adjoining lot, and
  2. the wall in which the window is located has a setback of less than 6m from the boundary of that adjoining lot.


C-5. A window in a development must have a privacy screen for any part of a window that is less than 1.5m above the finished floor level of each storey or edge of a terrace, balcony or verandah where:
  1. the window, terrace, balcony or verandah faces a building used for residential accommodation on an adjoining lot, and
  2. the wall in which the window is located, or the edge of the terrace, balcony or verandah is less than 6m from the boundary of that adjoining lot.



  1. Provide privacy, security and noise attenuation while complementing the streetscape and adjacent buildings.
  2. Provide for active street frontages and pedestrian access.
  3. Enable the outlook from buildings to the street for safety and surveillance.

Controls (C) 

C-1. The use of fencing and walls along street frontages is not supported.

C-2. Fencing design adjoining public places is:

  1. not sheet-metal fencing
  2. not higher than 3m above ground level (existing)
  3. not of masonry construction to a height that is more than 1.2m above ground level (existing)
  4. complements the existing streetscape in relation to scale and materials and uses similar or compatible materials to those used in attractive buildings within the locality
  5. open for at least 75% of the area of the fence that is more than 1.2m above ground level (existing) if located on the boundary of, or within the setback area.


  1. Reduce visual clutter and visual bulk of development by appropriately locating, orientating and screening services such as substations, hydrant boosters, plant equipment and mailboxes.

Controls (C)

Acceptable solutions (AS)

Explanatory notes

C-1. Services, plant equipment and air conditioning units, at ground level and on structures, are screened from the street, public domain and neighbouring buildings by elements such as landscaping, fencing or walls, in a manner that reduces its visual dominance and reflects the desired character of the area. 


For site waste management requirements see Section C6 Waste management.

C-2. Substations are integrated into the overall building design, are complementary to the building fabric and wherever possible, not be located in public areas or be visible from the public domain. 


C-3. Ventilation stacks servicing basement garages are not located in the street setback or any common open space and should be concealed within the building. 


C-4. Mailbox structure/s are integrated into the building design, do not dominate the street elevation and harmonise with the building aesthetic and landscape treatments.  

AS-1. Mailbox points are preferably embedded into a wall.

AS-2. Larger developments provide internal mailboxes in common foyers. 

AS-3. Mailbox groups are perpendicular to the street (rather than parallel to the site frontage).

C-5. Mailboxes are in a location with passive surveillance and lighting to discourage mail theft. 


  1. Minimise sound transmission and noise pollution.
  2. Ensure that commercial development that operates at night-time (after 9pm) or late-night (after 12am, midnight) does not generate adverse amenity impacts on residential and other sensitive land uses.

Controls (C)

Explanatory notes

C-1. Adequately address noise sources impacting residential habitable areas to ensure appropriate internal noise levels are achieved, including by reference to appropriate legislation, guidelines and standards. This may require applicants to obtain an acoustic report or a noise impact assessment from an appropriately qualified and experienced acoustic engineer to support their application.

Newcastle After Dark Strategy - Night-time Economy Strategy reiterates that that a developer responsible for building a residential complex needs to ‘design in’ reasonable noise mitigation (for example double glazing). Conversely, a late-night venue seeking to extend venue space or hours of operation which may include live performance would need to ensure noise impacts are appropriately defined and managed through preparation of a plan of management. Refer to C7 Safety and security.

For further guidance on noise attenuation, refer to the relevant sections of the National Construction Code, associated handbook, including: 

  • Part F5 ‘Sound transmission and insulation’ in Volume One for Class 2, 3 and 9c buildings 
  • Handbook: Sound transmission and insulation in buildings.

And the relevant NSW Environment Protection Agency guidelines, being: 

  • NSW Road Noise Policy 

Further information is in sub-section 7.0 Application requirements.

C-2. Exterior facades are designed to minimise the opportunity for sound transmission.

C-3. Where development adjoins a residential development, locate mechanical plant equipment and building services away from the residential building, be screened and have appropriate acoustic insulation.

C-4. Mechanical plant and equipment are designed and located to minimise noise nuisance.

C-5. For development that is proposed to operate during any part of the period 9pm to 6am, the acoustic impacts from the movement of persons to and from the development upon residential and other sensitive land uses are to be specifically assessed.  The application must demonstrate that the acoustic impacts from the development and the movement of people associated with the development, does not result in new or increased adverse amenity impacts to such uses.



  1. Minimise the impact of abandoned shopping trolleys on community amenity, safety and the environment.

Controls (C)

Explanatory notes

C-1. A management plan is required for all businesses that offer the use of trolleys to their customers. At a minimum the management plan must include:
  1. a list of contacts for the store/premises (including phone numbers)
  2. methods for identifying shopping trolleys that belong to a specific business (e.g. serial numbers, company logo, tracking device etc.)
  3. schedule for the daily collection of abandoned shopping trolleys, including details of trolley collection routes
  4. details of a trolley containment system which restricts the removal of trolleys from the premises
  5. measures to ensure that any trolleys reported as posing a risk or nuisance, are collected immediately upon notification (this may require an “after hours” collection service)
  6. a register of all trolleys that have been reported or collected (including instances where the trolley was not found at the reported location)
  7. methods for warning customers about the consequences of abandoning or removing trolleys from the premises
  8. a site plan of the premises showing the location of trolley bays and exit points
  9. a statement verifying that trolley management will be undertaken in accordance with the relevant consent (the consent is to be attached as an addendum once issued).

CN must be notified of any updates to the plan of management.

C-2. A trolley containment system is provided for businesses with 20 or more trolleys. Such examples include:
  1. coin/token operated system with refund
  2. trolleys with wheel locks activated by a radio signal or magnetic strip
  3. radio signal transmitters on trolleys.