Planning strategies

These strategies guide the growth of the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area, both at the local and state levels of government, and act as supports to the planning controls and guidelines.


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City of Coffs Harbour recognises that a lack of affordable housing in the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area is a significant issue that is likely to have adverse, long term social and economic effects and therefore must be addressed. We recognisesthat access to affordable, secure and appropriate housing is a basic human right.

During 2021, Council resolved to prepare an Affordable Housing Strategy and Policy for the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area. Both of these are currently in development. This page will be updated during the development of the draft Strategy and Policy.

Council has recognised that local government can play a role in the provision of affordable housing and/or social housing. The Affordable Housing Strategy will review case studies of other local government areas who have made effective advancements in affordable housing, and will investigate the opportunities and constraints which shape Council's ability to participate in provision of affordable housing and/or social housing.

Local Government has not traditionally been responsible for delivery of housing. Local councils develop land use strategies and controls that identify what sort of housing can be built and where; the NSW Government develops social housing; private developers develop land and build other housing, which can be diverse housing types; and an emerging trend is that not-for-profit entities are becoming developers of affordable and community housing.
In order to allow the issue of housing affordability to be better understood during the development of the draft Strategy, council has signed on to a housing monitor which provides an understanding of the changing situation of housing affordability within the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area over time.

The NSW Government has developed the Coffs Harbour Regional City Action Plan to provide a framework to manage and shape the city’s future growth so it conforms with the requirements of the North Coast Regional Plan 2036. 

The plan establishes a vision, objectives and actions to guide the growth of Coffs Harbour city. It sets six key collaboration areas to help deliver the 15-year strategic vision. 

 It was finalised in March 2021.

The heritage strategy summarises the way the City of Coffs Harbour will achieve implementation of its heritage program, and includes:

  • endorsement of the continuation of the Heritage Advisory Committee
  • actions to identify potential heritage items
  • actions to produce heritage brochures
  • actions to administer local heritage fund
  • actions to produce themed heritage trails, and
  • actions to promote cultural heritage awareness.

City of Coffs Harbour endorsed the Heritage Strategy for Coffs Harbour for 2021-2024 on 22 July 2021.

The aim of the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy (LGMS) is to provide a coordinated, strategic and planned approach to cater for growth in our local government area to 2040.

City of Coffs Harbour is currently revising and updating its LGMS for the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area (LGA). This will allow us to achieve the community's aspirations for Coffs Harbour as it grows into a regional city by supporting effective and integrated planning across the LGA to 2040 and beyond.

The revised LGMS consists of nine chapters. Eight of the nine chapters have been completed and adopted by both City of Coffs Harbour and NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Chapter 7 Residential Lands has been adopted by City of Coffs Harbour but is yet to be adopted by NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.


The Local Strategic Planning Statement ('the Statement') provides a 20-year land use planning vision for the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area (LGA). It identifies 16 Planning Priorities to be delivered in four themes to 2040.

City of Coffs Harbour adopted the Statement on 25 June 2020 for the whole of the Coffs Harbour LGA. The Statement was prepared in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Regulations.

Now it is adopted, this Statement will inform several of our processes and procedures, including:

  • the roll out of strategic and city-shaping projects within operational and delivery plans
  • infrastructure priorities
  • advocacy with other levels of government for new infrastructure and services to support growth
  • preparation of place plans, and
  • amendments to local planning controls (Local Environmental Plan and Development Control Plan).

The Local Strategic Planning Statement is underpinned by the four key themes of the MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan, being:

  • Community Wellbeing
  • Community Prosperity
  • A Place for Community, and
  • Sustainable Community Leadership.

The Draft Coffs Harbour Movement and Place Strategy sets the direction for how we improve the way we travel around our local government area – whether that’s walking, cycling, driving or catching a bus – and how we can make our streets even more attractive places to live and work.

The Draft Coffs Harbour Movement and Place Strategy has been led by the City of Coffs Harbour in collaboration with Transport for NSW and NSW Government agencies. It outlines the design, planning and delivery of our transport networks over the next 20 years.

The draft strategy sets out a number of goals summarised as 10 Big Moves. These are:

  1. Supporting 15-minute neighbourhoods (see explanation of 15-minute neighbourhoods further below).
  2. Better streets.
  3. Improving our walking and cycling networks.
  4. Investing in our blue and green grid.
  5. Planning for beyond the Bypass.
  6. Connecting the city’s key precincts and growth areas.
  7. Improving our public transport services.
  8. Careful parking management.
  9. Harnessing technology.
  10. Preparing shovel-ready projects to create great places.


Public Exhibition of the Draft Movement and Place Strategy

Public exhibition of the draft strategy occurred from 20 December 2022 to 27 February 2023. We thank you for providing input and comment on the draft Strategy's '10 Big Moves' - the key initiatives we are proposing over the next 20 years. We are currently evaluating community feedback to inform the final Strategy.

For more information refer to the Have Your Say page for the strategy: Draft Coffs Harbour Movement and Place Strategy - Have Your Say

What is Movement and Place?

Movement and Place considers the whole street including footpaths, from property line to property line. It takes into account the needs of all users of this space, including pedestrians, cyclists, deliveries, private vehicles and public transport, as well as people spending time in those places, whether moving around the place or enjoying street life including outdoor dining, waiting for a bus or watching the world go by.

What is meant by 15-minute neighbourhoods

The concept of 15-minute neighbourhoods is about trying to provide everyday services – schools, shops, doctors - in close proximity to where we live
eg a local school within a safe and easy 15-minute walk or bike ride. 

It is recognised that many of us will still need to travel further than 15 minutes to get to work or other destinations by car. And we are planning for that. 

But we also want to make it convenient to get to everyday needs by other means - to give people more options for how they travel (walk, ride, bus or drive), promote healthier and more sustainable means of travel, and to help people that don’t have easy access to a private vehicle. 




The North Coast Regional Plan 2041 is a 20-year is the NSW Government’s blueprint for the future of the North Coast.

The NSW Government’s vision for the North Coast is to create the best region in Australia to live, work and play thanks to its spectacular environment and vibrant communities.

To achieve this vision the Government has set four goals for the region:

  • The most stunning environment in NSW
  • A thriving, interconnected economy
  • Vibrant and engaged communities
  • Great housing choice and lifestyle options.

Place Score is a 'place experience' measurement tool that lets communities across Australia share what they most care about. It gives communities a voice to shape the places they live, recreate and work.

Place Score consists of two tools - "Care Factor' captures what the community values; and 'PX' is a universal standard for measuring 'place experience'. Just as 'UX' measures the user experience of online environments, PX measures the lived experience of places across Australia.

The PX score (a number between 0 and 100) reveals how places and neighbourhoods are performing, what is contributing to place experience (and what is impacting users negatively) and allows change to be measured over time.

The Coffs Harbour 2019 Place Score Report involved community engagement between November 2018 and February 2019. A total of 2,075 responses were collected during the research. The Coffs Harbour local government area (LGA) achieved a PX or 65.

Key strengths listed for the overall LGA are elements of the natural environment (natural features, views, vegetation etc.); and locally owned and operated businesses.

Liveability improved priorities (those things identified that are important to the community but which are currently underperforming) are listed as:

  • quality of public space, access and safety of walking, cycling and/or public transport
  • walking/jogging/bike paths that connect housing to community amenities (like shops and parks)
  • the general condition of public open space (street trees, footpaths, parks), and 
  • protection of the natural environment.

Further analysis was also undertaken on localities (when sufficient responses were received to allow for this analysis).

Scores for other neighbourhoods included:

  • Arrawarra and Mullaway (65)
  • Boambee East (64)
  • Coffs Harbour city (64)
  • City Centre (62)
  • Jetty (69)
  • Park Beach (64)
  •  West Coffs (64) 
  • Coramba (68)
  • Corindi Beach (67)
  • Moonee Beach (72)
  • Nana Glen (61)
  • Sandy Beach (66)
  • Sawtell (77)
  • Toormina (58)
  • Woolgoolga (67)

The 2019 Place Score report provides valuable information to Council for diagnosing problems, identifying priorities and measuring change in key places and precincts across the LGA.


The Coffs Harbour Public Realm Strategy was adopted by Council on 10 August 2023. 

The Strategy aims to create a connected network of public open space that is clean, green, and safe, with a goal that everyone in our community will have access to a least one type of public open space within a 4 to 5 minute walk from their home.

The Public Realm is not just reserves and sporting fields - it includes all public spaces, such as: streets, forecourts, squares, bicycle and pedestrian links and waterways.

The Strategy provides guidance for the City, developers and the community on the planning, design and management of the public realm, including:

  • Guiding principles to inform projects and works that impact the public realm,
  • Standards for the different types of public realm within the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area:
    • Local Parks (including small local parks),
    • District Parks,
    • Regional Parks,
    • Coffs Coast Regional Park,
    • Linear Parks,
    • Natural Areas,
    • Streets,
    • Sports Facilities, and
    • Community Gardens.
  • Performance criteria to assist the City in determining levels of service and provision for each public realm type,
  • 5 Big Moves to assist the City in meeting the vision of the Strategy:
    1. Establish a Green Grid Framework - to ensure that our public open space is protected and improved in perpetuity.
    2. Establish a Public Realm Tree Delivery Program - to protect trees within our urban environments and reverse the decline in the urban tree canopy.
    3. Support the Preparation of an Active Transport Plan - to ensure that our public realm is connected & to promote active lifestyles.
    4. Support the City's Placemaking Framework - by informing place plans for our community.
    5. Promote Responsible Pet Ownership in the Public Realm - by updating the City's Companion Animal Management Plan.
  • Future considerations for the City to address specific issues identified in relation to the public realm,
  • Public realm urban design guidelines - to ensure a consistent and legible approach on the design of public spaces,
  • Public open space requirements for future urban release areas,
  • Methodology to guide the City in its classification of public land, and
  • Guidance for the development of plans of management by the City.



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