What is a Structure Plan?

    A Structure Plan is a planning tool that sets out the long-term vision, objectives, and strategies for the future growth and development of an area.

    The purpose of a Structure Plan is to guide development and provide appropriate infrastructure to support population growth in the area and demonstrate how the process can be managed.

    It is a long-term blueprint for development and investment.

    Why do we need a Structure Plan?

    A Structure Plan enables Council to identify priorities and develop actions to achieve the best outcome for local communities.

    It is prepared to advance the following goals:

    • Create a sense of place and community.
    • Encourage greater housing choice, diversity and affordable places to live.
    • Facilitate an accessible, functional and vibrant town centre.
    • Provide for local employment and sustainable business activity.
    • Facilitate better transport options.
    • Respond to natural hazards and climate change.
    • Deliver accessible, integrated and adaptable community infrastructure.

    It also identifies steps that can be taken by Council to achieve policy objectives and will provide guidance to landowners and investors about preferred future development.

    Why has South West Rocks got its own Structure Plan?

    The NSW Government’s North Coast Regional Plan 2041 recognises that a predicted increase in population in South West Rocks will require the provision of additional housing, services and infrastructure.  

    The South West Rocks Structure Plan will:

    • Provide greater certainty to the local community and investors about future development.
    • Manage change to create attractive, vibrant areas to live, work and shop.
    • Ensure the economic and social vitality of the area.
    • Make best use of Council resources and focus investment to best serve the community.

    The Structure Plan document is an important planning tool to guide the future growth and evolution of South West Rocks. It will be used by Council to inform decisions on rezoning, development applications, and infrastructure planning.

    What is in the South West Rocks Structure Plan?

    The South West Rocks Structure Plan includes:

    • PLANNING – Recommends a planning approach that supports the community’s long-term vision for the area.
    • OPPORTUNITIES – Identifies land use opportunities that will support the long-term growth of the town and its immediate surrounds.
    • DESIGN - Provides specific design principles to enhance the character and environment of the area.
    • ENVIRONMENT – Outlines guides for strategies and future development projects, either public or private, to occur in a sensitive and sustainable manner.
    • GOVERNANCE – It will inform the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and the more specific Development Control Plan (DCP) updates that regulate future development.

    What areas are included in the South West Rocks Structure Plan?

    South West Rocks, Arakoon and Jerseyville.

    How was the draft Structure Plan developed?

    The South West Rocks Structure Plan has been drafted based on extensive background investigations and lengthy community consultation.  

    Council released the South West Rocks Background Paper for public consultation in January 2022 and received more than 400 submissions. Feedback was also received through workshops and community events. 

    Results of the community consultation are summarised in the Engagement Outcomes Report, which can be found in the Background information section of the project page.

    Key findings from the community consultation were included in a Discussion Paper which made recommendations for changes to the Structure Plan.  

    In addition, an analysis of the existing road network was undertaken to prepare a Transport and Movement Report which also informed the Discussion Paper and ultimately the Structure Plan.

    Where did the population figures come from?

    The population figures came from the North Coast Regional Plan 2041, prepared by the NSW Department of Planning, which identified South West Rocks as a key locality for housing delivery and urban growth.

    The figures were extracted from Profile.id (Informed Decisions) which Council has used for all recent strategic planning documents and they are considered broadly accurate for the purposes at hand.

    The North Coast Regional Plan 2041 recognises an increase in population will require the provision of additional housing, services and infrastructure to support future growth.  

    How will infrastructure be catered for with an increased population?

    Council is currently developing three supporting documents:

    • Integrated Water Catchment Management Strategy,
    • Sewer Servicing Strategy, and
    • Transport & Movement Report (completed)

    These will ensure that water services, sewerage infrastructure and traffic management capacity will meet community needs as well as protecting public health and the environment.


    The Integrated Water Catchment Management Strategy uses transparent, evidence-based analysis to develop a 30-year roadmap for the provision of appropriate, affordable, cost-effective and sustainable urban water services.


    The Sewer Servicing Strategy will assess the capacity of the sewerage infrastructure to incorporate future growth through additions such as a sewage pumping station or sewer gravity main upgrades.


    The Transport & Movement Report examines the capacity of the existing road network to cater to growing traffic volumes and proposes road network improvements (see section 7).


    Opportunities to improve parking through formalised spaces in the Town Centre precinct have been highlighted in the Structure Plan.

    Why are building heights being changed?

    Building height limits are being reviewed, and changes are being proposed to ensure consistency with the current 8.5m building height limit for residential areas and the 11m building height limit in commercial areas.

    The only changes recommended are where there is no existing maximum building height limit.  

    Building height limits are regulated by the Kempsey Local Environmental Plan (KLEP) 2013, and any proposed amendments must be assessed and endorsed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

    What are the building height changes?

    A review of existing building height limits has identified that there are parcels of land that currently do not have a maximum building height limit applied.  

    Council is proposing to introduce an 8.5m building height or an 11m building height to these sites.

    Residential zoned land, the Maritime Precinct and open space areas are some of the sites to have an 8.5m building height limit introduced.

    The 11m building height limit is only proposed for existing commercial zoned land, such as the Rocks Shopping Centre and the IGA site on Gregory Street (as well as an extension of the 11m building height limit to the southern side of Landsborough Street).

    Specific details on the affected parcels of land and the proposed changes can be found on pages 50 and 51 of the South West Rocks Structure Plan.

    Why is land being rezoned?

    Land is being rezoned to align with the South West Rocks Structure Plan and the Local Housing Strategy.

    The rezoning aims to enable low-scale development and ensure adverse impacts on environmental values are minimized.

    The proposed zoning changes are regulated by the Kempsey Local Environmental Plan, and any amendments to this plan must be assessed and endorsed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

    Which land is being rezoned?

    The Structure Plan has identified some portions of land within South West Rocks for potential rezoning. These include:

    Lot 70009 DP 1058863 - Gordon Young Drive

    Current KLEP zoning: R3 Medium Density Residential, C2 Environmental Conservation and RU2 Rural Landscape.  

    Proposed KLEP zoning: C4 Environmental Living.

    This proposed rezoning removes the medium residential density zoning on land with environmental qualities.

    It replaces it with a more suitable zoning that enables low-scale development to occur that compliments the environmental qualities of the land and minimise adverse impacts on those values.

    Lot 9 DP 1219664 – 157 Arakoon Road (between Arakoon Road & Athena Parade)

    Current KLEP zoning: R5 Large Lot Residential

    Proposed KLEP zoning: R1 General Residential

    Council recently completed a Local Housing Strategy as part of the Local Growth Management Strategy currently on exhibition. It found no additional need for R5 zoned land in Kempsey Shire beyond that identified in Council’s Rural Residential Land Release Strategy 2014.

    On the other hand, there is a need for R1 zoned land in South West Rocks to deliver additional housing to cater for predicted population growth.  

    The North Coast Regional Plan 2041 identifies the subject site as within the Urban Growth Area for South West Rocks.  

    No other zoning changes are proposed for R5 zoned land in Arakoon.

    Various lots in Keith Andrews Avenue

    Current KLEP zoning: RU2 Rural Landscape

    Proposed KLEP zoning: R1 General Residential

    The proposed rezoning of eight lots in Keith Andrews Avenue is to align with the Major Project development consent known as ‘Settlers Ridge’ that has been approved by the NSW Government. This will ensure that the correct zoning aligns with the current and proposed residential lots within this development.

    Specific details on the affected parcels of land and the proposed changes can be found on pages 50 and 51 of the South West Rocks Structure Plan.

    What do the ‘opportunity’ sites in the Structure Plan mean?

    Council has found places in South West Rocks where it might be a good idea to build things like stores and homes all in one spot. This is called mixed-use development, involving combinations such as commercial and residential uses on one parcel of land.

    The ‘opportunity’ sites are put forward to give people ideas for what to do with the land and to help prevent too many things being built there. Council wants to make sure any building that happens is done in a thoughtful way.

    Except for the Sports and Recreation area, landowners get to decide if they want to build something there, and any development would be undertaken by the land owner.

    Development of opportunity sites are still subject to the applicable approval processes.

    What happens next?

    The draft South West Rocks Structure Plan document has been placed on public exhibiton for 28 days, closing at 4pm 28 February 2023. 

    At the conclusion of this public exhibition, Council will review all submissions and determine what amendments are required to the Draft South West Rocks Structure Plan.  

    Once the necessary amendments have been made, the South West Rocks Structure Plan will be reported to the next Ordinary Meeting of Council for endorsement.