Urban Release/Investigation Areas

An urban release area is an area nominated in the Maitland Urban Settlement Strategy for investigation for future urban purposes.


Lochinvar is identified in the Lower Hunter Regional Strategy as a priority area to accommodate regional population growth.  In October 2007, the Lochinvar Structure Plan was approved.  The key objective of the paln is to ensure that any growth takes place in a coordinated and sustainable manner, in response to the character of Lochinvar.

The plan provides a broad framework for development in the Lochinvar area and to act as a guide for future investigations and decisions by Council and the community.  It also provides for expanded urban development and associated facilities and services consistent with the prinicples of sustainable liveable neighbourhoods.  That is, to provide for an urban structure of walkable neighbourhoods clustered to form towns of compatibly mixed uses that have access to sevrices and facilites.

Lochinvar Structure Plan (2007) Part 1 (PDF - 2.49MB)

Lochinvar Structure Plan (2007) Part 2 (PDF - 3.68MB) 

Thornton North

A structure plan has been prepared for Thornton North.  The primary focus of the structure plan is to ensure that any growth takes place in a co-ordinated and sustainable manner in consultation with the local community.

The structure plan provides a broad framework for potential development in the Thornton North area which will act as a guide for future investigations and decisions by Council and the community.

Thornton North Structure Plan (PDF - 1.12MB)


Land known as the Farley Urban Release Area was rezoned in January 2013.  The rezoning followed the inclusion of the land in the Lower Hunter Regional Strategy in 2006 and the continued inclusion of the land in the various Maitland Urban Settlement Strategy reviews since 2003.  The site was rezoned to R1 General Residential and E3 Environmental Management, and designated as an Urban Release Area under the Maitland Local Environmental Plan 2011.

Subsequent planning for Farley URA will involve preparation and exhibition of a Development Control Plan (DCP) chapter under the Maitland DCP 2011.  This will be known as the Farley Urban Release Area DCP chapter and will include certain provisions and controls that will guide development outcomes associated with Development Applications submitted for certain types of development within the Farley URA.

Gillieston Heights

The Gillieston Heights Urban Release Area comprises residential areas, centrally located neighbourhood shops, a potential school site, open space and areas of existing vegetation, which provides a backdrop to the future development.  The purpose of the structure plan is to give detailed guideance to people wishing to carry out development within the Gillieston Heights Urban Release Area.

The residential areas are to be developed into a series of neighbourhoods defined by the natural landform, shared pathways and roads.  Streets will be designed for safety, connectivity and to provide opportunities for establishing new plantings and attractive streetscapes.  Any school, neighbourhood shops and parks will be located adjacent to bus routes and provide a focal point for community activity.

Gillieston Heights Structure Plan (PDF - 751kb)


The The purpose of the Aberglasslyn Structure Plan is to give detailed guidance to development within the Aberglasslyn Urban Release Area.  The plan provides for:

  • A transport movement hierarchy;
  • An overall landscaping strategy;
  • Location for appropriate drainage and water quality measures;
  • Identification of any natural and environmental hazards;
  • Identification of any significant development sites within the release area that require detailed urban design controls;
  • Identification for a potential school site and neighbourhood shops;
  • Measures to reduce impact on future residential development from the railway, vehicular traffic, and the adjoining extractive industries along the Hunter River;
  • A mixture of residential densities and forms that reflect the opportunities and constraints for the site;
  • Protection of scenic values and significant vegetation on the site, particularly within, and adjacent to the Heritage Conservation Area, Aberglasslyn Road and Oakhampton wetlands.

 Aberglasslyn Structure Plan Part 1 (PDF - 3.42MB)

Aberglasslyn Structure Plan Part 2 (PDF - 1.71MB)

To contact the Urban Growth team, phone 4934 9700 or email strategicplanning@maitland.nsw.gov.au