Growing ideas for Lower Hunter region’s future

The NSW
Department of Planning and Environment will be at Tocal Field Days this week to
meet and talk with residents.

Acting Deputy
Secretary, Planning and Design, Brett Whitworth, said the Department was keen
to hear from locals about planning for new neighbourhoods in the lower Hunter
region.

“The team is really
excited to meet with locals for three big days of farming fun – and find out
more about what everyone wants for their local community,” Mr Whitworth said.

“Tocal is a
fantastic suburb, dotted with colonial farm buildings and with rich viticulture
heritage. Only a stone’s throw from Greater Newcastle, Tocal, along with the
entire Dungog local government area and nearby Maitland City, is a community
that’s changing.

“Good planning
and design will help guide the ongoing growth, renewal and revitalisation of
Tocal and the lower Hunter region, while ensuring the community’s sense of
identity and values are protected.

“The Department’s
door is always open and now we’re taking to the road to get in front of as many
people as we can.

“We want to hear
your views on new suburbs we are helping to
plan, including how we can best support existing and future residents of nearby
Anambah, Aberglasslyn, Gillieston Heights, Bolwarra/Largs, Lochinvar, Thornton
North, Louth Park and Farley.

“We’re also working closely with both Dungog Shire Council and Maitland
City Council to make sure Everyone Can Play – no matter their age or ability.

“We’re investing $60,000 to upgrade Dungog’s aging playground to make it
more inclusive, and $65,000 to create a new and exciting inclusive playground
at Willow Drive in Metford.

“But that’s just the beginning. We need to hear more from the community,
so we can ensure we are working together to create the best plans for the
future.”

Department staff
will be on hand to explain what the Department does, and to talk through local
planning issues and proposals that may be important to residents, including the
draft ‘Urban Design for Regional NSW’ guide.

“This is the
first ever draft guideline that specifically addresses the unique environment,
challenges and opportunities of the Hunter region,” Mr Whitworth said.

The Department’s team will be at Tocal Field Days, at Tocal
Agricultural Centre, 815 Tocal Road, Paterson, on Friday, May 3, Saturday, May
4, and Sunday, May 5, from 10am to 4pm.

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