Strategic land use planning

Aerial view of a typical suburb

Local strategy Conservation zone review Future planning Adopted plans Vegetation plans 

Strategic land use planning is the process of planning for the future development of the Tweed.  

Council identifies and assesses future land uses to meet growth and demand for housing, jobs and services.

We need to balance competing needs for expansion of urban land and services:

  • protecting the environment
  • considering recreational and community needs
  • promoting sustainable business and employment.

Strategic land use planning operates within a wider state and regional planning framework.

Local planning is informed by and must be consistent with the state planning objectives.

Local Strategic Planning Statement 2020

Council’s first Local Strategic Planning Statement(PDF, 8MB) was adopted on 4 June 2020. It sets out our 20-year vision for land use in the Tweed.

The statement describes:

  • special characteristics that contribute to the Tweed’s local identity
  • shared values the community want to maintain and enhance
  • how future growth and change will be managed.

The statement sets clear planning priorities required to support our community’s social, environmental and economic land-use needs into the future, including where these are best located and when they will be delivered.

To meet the community’s future vision, it also outlines short, medium and long term actions to deliver on these priorities.

The statement is part of Council’s commitment to manage our future so the Tweed grows in an environmentally, socially and economically responsible way and brings together and builds on the Tweed Community Strategic Plan and Council’s current land-use plans, strategies and policies. It describes how the directions and actions in the North Coast Regional Plan and other state-wide and regional policies will be implemented locally.

Tweed Conservation zone review - stage 1

The Tweed is recognised for its beautiful natural areas and outstanding diversity of native plants, animals and their habitats. Tweed Shire Council uses LEP zoning to protect these important values, by ensuring that inappropriate development does not occur in environmentally sensitive areas.

The NSW Government recently developed a new set of rules around how councils should apply zones for environmental protection. This included a standard set of ecological criteria that land must meet before it can be given a “Conservation zone” (C zone).

Tweed Shire Council has developed and refined a method for applying Conservation zones, in accordance with the NSW Government’s requirements, our existing strategic plans and the high value the community places on our natural areas. All land in the Tweed will be reviewed, applying this new method, and new draft zone maps created. 

The review is being undertaken in two stages. Stage 1 covers the Tweed Coast, being all land in the Shire east of the Pacific Motorway as well as some parts of Cobaki, Tweed Heads West Bilambil Heights and Terranora. Stage 2 will review and update the remainder of the Shire and will occur after Stage 1 maps are finalised and endorsed.

Draft mapping for Stage 1 is now complete. All landowners on the Tweed Coast whose properties are affected by a proposed zoning change are being contacted as part of a phased informal consultation process. Due to the number of landholders, the consultation will be carried out in stages. The purpose of this consultation is to assist landowners to understand how the draft mapping has been developed and give them the opportunity to provide feedback on Council’s approach, and the proposed changes.

The feedback we receive will be used to refine the draft zone mapping before Council prepares a Planning Proposal to formally amend the Tweed LEPs to include the new Conservation zones for the Tweed Coast.

View the draft maps and other project information including fact sheets and frequently asked questions by visiting

Future planning

Identifying future land uses and planning for the future development of the Tweed helps with forecast growth and demand for housing, jobs and the location, as well as the demand of services to meet that growth.

Our aim is to balance the competing needs for expansion of urban land and services with protection of sensitive environments, ensuring recreational and community needs and promoting sustainable business and employment for the Tweed.

For information on strategies, plans and policies being developed or under review see planning future land use.

Adopted plans

The following plans have been adopted by Council to guide the future development of the Tweed:

Helipads and Heliports Design and assessment guide

Within the Tweed, most helipads or heliports require the consent of Council.

In these applications, Council plays a crucial role in balancing the requests of land owners and the potential impacts of these activities on the surrounding community.

Helipads and Heliports Design and Assessment Guide(PDF, 2MB)

Jack Evans Boat Harbour Plan of Management

Council has developed a Plan of Management to guide its future planning and management of Jack Evans Boat Harbour.

The Plan of Management provides guidelines to ensure the Jack Evans Boat Harbour precinct is protected and used as the recreational and tourist centrepiece for the Tweed Heads city centre.

The plan has been informed by the results from the extensive community consultation undertaken in 2018 and 2020, which included the What’s Your Vision for Jack Evans Boat Harbour Survey. The plan is also consistent with the Tweed Shire Open Space Strategy and Council’s policy for Commercial Recreation Activities on Public Open Space and has been approved by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Guide to the draft Jack Evans Boat Harbour Plan of Management(PDF, 4MB)
Adopted Jack Evans Boat Harbour Plan of Management - Feb 2021(PDF, 4MB)
Appendix A - Commercial Recreation Activities on Public Open Space(PDF, 551KB)
Appendix B - Parkland Use and Event Guidelines(PDF, 1MB)
Appendix C1 - Community Consultation Results Report - Mar 2019(PDF, 4MB)
Appendix C2 - Public Exhibition Feedback Report - Jan 2021(PDF, 3MB)
Appendix D - TCCLEP 2012 Land Use Table(PDF, 402KB)

Retail Policy

Following the earlier preparation of a “Draft Tweed Retail Strategy” document by consultants Core Economics, and in conjunction with a determination of DA for extensions to the Tweed City shopping centre, Council resolved at its meeting of 16 November 2005 the following seven principles as a Retail Strategy for the Tweed Shire:

  1. “The character of existing towns and villages and the retail facilities they already have be protected.
  2. Where appropriate, Council will support the incremental expansion of existing retail centres in such a way as not to threaten or fracture those existing centres, rather than building new ones.
  3. Reinforce Tweed Heads south as the major district retail centre by encouraging the expansion and when Tweed's population demands that increased range and level of shopping.
  4. Maintain and wherever possible enhance the special appeal of the retail centre of Murwillumbah and those village centres of similar style.
  5. Limit the scale of new large scale retail centres in the coastal region to a level which caters for the majority of chore type shopping needs. This concept to reflect the need to reduce fuel consumption and to support sustainability within each centre through discouraging vehicle use and encouraging walking and cycling.
  6. Council does not support the establishment of another district retail shopping centre.
  7. The retail concepts in these recommendations form the basis of locality plans in the Shire and any retail development applications which are submitted in the interim of these locality plans being prepared and approved by Council be assessed so that the above retail strategies are supported and not compromised.”

Tweed Coast Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management

The Tweed Coast koala population has declined by approximately 50 per cent in the last decade and without action there is a very real risk that koalas could disappear from the Tweed Coast within the next 15 – 20 years.

Tweed Shire Council has prepared a Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management(PDF, 5MB) (PDF) to help the Tweed Coast koala population recover to more sustainable levels over the next two decades. The plan was adopted as a strategy of Council on Thursday 19 February 2015 and approved under State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) on 17 March 2021.

The plan has been prepared in conjunction with the Tweed Coast Koala Advisory Group and is based on the outcomes of the Tweed Coast Koala Habitat Study. The plan aims to ensure a strategic and comprehensive approach to issues including:

  • habitat protection and restoration
  • management of bushfire
  • mitigation of threats from motor vehicles, dogs and disease
  • community education
  • research, monitoring and evaluation
  • resourcing and implementation

Tweed River Estuary Bank Management Plan 2000

Tweed Shire Council, through the Tweed River Management Plan Advisory Committee (TRMPAC), commissioned Patterson Britton and Partners (PBP) to carry out a Bank Management Study and prepare a formal Management Plan to address the issues of existing and on-going bank erosion and morphological changes of the Tweed Estuary, including the Rous River up to Kynnumboon, Terranora Inlet, Terranora Creek, and the entrance to Cobaki Broadwater.

Tweed Urban and Employment Lands Release Strategy 2009

At its meeting of 17 March 2009, Council resolved to adopt the Tweed Urban and Employment Lands Release Strategy 2009, the culmination of a major investigations required by the DOP as follow up action to the Far North Coast Regional Strategy 2006, setting new housing and employment targets for both the region, and each of the regional councils over a 25 year period (2006 to 2031).

A copy of the final adopted Strategy can be viewed by clicking the links provided below (due to its large size the document has been split into 4 parts).

Urban Land Release Strategy Introduction(PDF, 1MB)
Urban Land Release Strategy Section(PDF, 8MB)
Employment Lands Strategy Section(PDF, 14MB)
Public Consultation and Submissions Section(PDF, 217KB)

Vegetation Management Strategy

The Tweed Vegetation Management Strategy 2004 provides information about the status of the Tweed’s vegetation.


The following are included in the strategy:

  • a description of the Tweed Local Government Area
  • the context and relationship of the Strategy within the broader legislative framework
  • revised and detailed vegetation mapping
  • existing and proposed frameworks for the management and conservation of remnant vegetation
  • identification and mapping of remnant vegetation and vegetation communities
  • a methodology for the ecological criteria and assessment of the ecological status and sensitivity of remnant vegetation that draws on recognised comprehensive assessment processes
  • an overview of threatened species in the Tweed context and generally
  • information on soil and water landscapes
  • investigation of socio-economic and cultural heritage (including Aboriginal values)
  • issues associated with the management and rehabilitation of remnant vegetation
  • strategic directions and recommendations for implementing a new comprehensive framework
  • reflects on the values placed on the environmental landscape identified through the resident and tourist survey undertaken as part of the Tweed Tourist Strategy and Tweed Shire 2000 Strategic Plan.

How was the TVMS 2004 prepared?

The TVMS 2004 was initiated in 1998 and drew on the original 12-member Vegetation Management Plan Steering Committee that was established in 1995 as part of the previous Strategies working group. The makeup of the committee was later changed in July 2000 to 21 Members to ensure greater representation from the rural landowners, environmental groups and relevant government agencies.

An independent environmental consultant (Ecograph) was appointed to undertake the preparation of the Strategy in consultation with Council’s Strategic Planning Unit and the community based Vegetation Management Plan Steering Committee. 

What is the purpose and objective of the TVMS 2004?


  • To minimise conflict and dual regulation between Tweed LEP 2000 and the New South Wales Natural Resource Management Reforms introduced by the State Government in 2003;
  • To enable more efficient and transparent land management practices;
  • To foster holistic and equitable approaches to managing ecological processes and significant natural areas in Tweed;
  • Enable greater environmental protection, economic development and improved social or cultural conditions; and
  • To improve the mechanisms for the conserve and protection of the Tweed’s unique biological diversity, scenic quality and ecological integrity.

Objectives of the Plan:

  • To compliment vegetation clearing controls and provisions contained in the Native Vegetation Act 2003 and to reinforce the role of the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority and Natural Resource Commission as natural resources managers within the Tweed;
  • To minimise the impact of new development on significant natural areas and steep land through appropriate planning controls;
  • To identify and protect natural areas with high ecological, scenic or cultural value;
  • To retain and improve the condition of the Tweed’s natural assets for future generations; and
  • To streamline the ability for land managers to undertake routine land management practices that are likely to have minimal adverse environmental impact consistent with the provisions of the Native Vegetation Act 2003.

How is the TVMS 2004 being implemented?

The TVMS 2004 acts as the environmental study to support amendments to the Tweed LEP 2000 which are aimed at facilitating the recommendations and actions contained in the Strategy. The amendments were originally being sought through Draft LEP Amendment No.21 and are now being implemented through the Tweed Shirewide Draft LEP 2010. The TVMS is primarily a strategy to inform plan-making, however it also plays a significant role in development assessment.

Some key elements of the Plan’s implementation are:

  • The plan amends the 7(a), 7(d) and 7(l) Environmental Protection Zone boundaries under Tweed LEP 2000, which will be combined into a single zone called the 7(a) Environmental Protection (Significant Natural Vegetation/Wildlife Habitat) Zone.
  • The plan proposes reducing the area of land affected by the Environmental Protection Zone, particularly in the western areas of the Shire. The area of land zoned Environmental Protection will decrease from approximately 13,600 hectares to 5,500 hectares in direct response to the natural resource management reforms by the State Government.
  • The new 7(a) zone is generally concentrated within the Tweed coastal area where there is more accurate information on flora and fauna and where there is greater development pressure on remnant bushland and habitat compared to other areas of the Shire.
  • The Plan introduces a new Shire wide map entitled ‘Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2000 – Catchment Map’. The map is based on mapping of bushland in the Shire under the TVMS 2004. The mapping of bushland as part of the Tweed LEP 2000 introduces a trigger for the assessment of development applications lodged with Council to ensure Council assesses the significance of vegetation/ wildlife habitat in rural and undeveloped urban (Greenfield) zones prior to clearing approval for a particular land use. It is important to note that residential lots equal to or less than 4,000 square metres and commercial/retail zones will not be affected by the provisions of the Catchment Map.
  • The Plan brings into affect amendments to Section A10 of the Tweed Development Control Plan (Exempt and Complying Development). The proposed amendment to the DCP introduces a number of clearing exemptions. T he clearing exemptions avoid the need for Council approval in circumstances where the clearing is likely to have a minimal environmental impact or where clearing is undertaken to avoid natural hazards eg, bushfire. These exemptions will operate in both rural and urban areas.

Strategic planning and urban design

Council’s Strategic Planning and Urban Design Unit carries out a range of projects, broadly categorised as:

To achieve a balance of the above, the Strategic Planning and Urban Design Unit Workplan(PDF, 810KB) is reported to Council annually (usually in May for the coming financial year). It looks at house to prioritise multiple projects competing for limited resources, and sets out project priorities and forward plans for 3 years.

If you're considering a new plan, or an amendment to the Tweed Local Environmental Plan or would like  more information about the plan making process please call our Strategic Planning and Urban Design Unit on 02 6670 2400.