We undertake local plans and land use investigations in the Toowoomba region to manage change and accommodate growth. As such, not all areas in the Toowoomba region have, or require local plans and land use investigations. Population and economic growth, environmental, social and other planning matters are regularly monitored to determine when and where local plans and land use investigations may be needed. The outcomes of these investigations inform amendments to the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme.
Local plans and land use investigations also help to:
- guide growth and change, and future development and investment;
- coordinate new and improved infrastructure;
- guide development to create liveable communities;
- protect local valuable features and enhance the character of the area;
- facilitate economic development; and
- address locally specific issues and opportunities that influence the future of the area.
The list below identifies local plans and land use investigations that are underway or completed, and where it has been incorporated into the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme.
Drayton local plan/land use investigation
- Commenced late 2017. For more information visit the Yoursay Drayton land use webpage.
Highfields/Meringandan/ Meringandan West local plan/land use investigation
- Completed August 2013
- Incorporated in Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme - Amendment No.8 – commenced 29 July 2016
West Toowoomba local plan/land use investigation
- Completed March 2017
The Highfields, Meringandan and Meringandan West local plan was adopted on 20 August 2013.
The purpose of this local plan was to:
- develop a strategic vision for the broader Highfields, Meringandan and Meringandan West areas.
- guide sustainable future urban development in this key growth front.
- facilitate more compact urban forms.
- address connectivity to existing urban areas.
- articulate desired urban design outcomes.
Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme – Amendment No.8
The outcomes outlined in the local plan report were incorporated in the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme in Amendment No.8 (29 July 2016), including:
- changed the zone of land in parts of Highfields and Meringandan
- removed the ‘Highway Precinct’ from zone maps
- removed the ‘Crow’s Nest Army Signals Buffer’.
West Toowoomba is anticipated to be home to approximately 30,000 people by 2050 and will be the second largest employment area in the region. Population growth, infrastructure investment, major transport connections, community expectations and the need to manage land uses are driving change in West Toowoomba. The West Toowoomba land use investigation study is part of the Imagine tomorrow series of local planning investigations. These investigations guide where and how to grow Toowoomba as a regional centre and how to sustainably manage this growth. The project aims to deliver leading urban design and is based on contemporary planning, urban design and placemaking principles.
The study area is approximately 9000ha (90km2) and includes Westbrook, Glenvale, Torrington, Cotswold Hills and parts of Charlton and Wellcamp. A map of the study area can be viewed here.
The plan was adopted by Council on 21 March 2017 and the final report is available: West Toowoomba land use investigation final report (PDF). A background report providing supporting information is also available: West Toowoomba land use investigations background report.
The infographic below provides an overview of the plan outcomes (click the infographic for a larger image).
West Toowoomba land use investigation plan
The West Toowoomba land use investigation is a long term plan to guide future growth and development for the next 30 years and beyond. This is a plan for more than just houses. It is important that future development meets our communities’ daily living needs throughout an entire lifetime by providing a range of housing options in close and convenient access to a mix of jobs, local services and community, cultural and recreational facilities.
The key features of the plan include:
- a vision for West Toowoomba in 2050 and 10 key moves to achieve this vision
- a structure plan, i.e. urban settlement patterns, broad land uses, urban design and key placemaking features
- small area plans for three major residential growth areas - Westbrook, Glenvale West/Torrington and Cotswold Hills
- design guidance which illustrates how the 10 key moves and structure plan principles could be integrated in and leveraged for future planning and development
- development sequence and timeframe and implementation strategies.
The project involved engaging over 400 community and local stakeholders to develop a shared vision for the future of West Toowoomba. The final plan has been shaped through ideas and feedback generated through this process.
To find out more about the community engagement process, please open the community engagement infographic or visit the project information section on our Your Say website.
Implementing our plan
Council has adopted the plan as a non-statutory planning policy document to guide future policy and decision making. The plan will be incorporated into the planning scheme in stages through a series of amendments. Planning scheme amendments will be communicated via the Council website and Your Say website and there will be opportunities to make submissions on the proposed changes.
Not all outcomes identified in the plan can be implemented through the planning scheme and not all will be undertaken by Council. A large proportion of future development will be delivered by private investment, guided by the plan. Development will occur over a long time as this is a plan for 30 years.
Council will periodically review the plan to ensure it continues to meet the city’s needs over time.
To find out more about the West Toowoomba land use investigation study, view the frequently asked questions below or contact the project team on 131 872.
Why are we planning for growth and more housing in this area?
West Toowoomba is a major growth area of Toowoomba city, with an anticipated population of 30,000 people by 2050. This growth brings pressure to provide homes, jobs and services to meet the community’s long-term needs. The West Toowoomba land use investigation provides a unique opportunity to create a plan to manage future growth that offers housing choice, more people-friendly places, and ensures high quality and sustainable design of new communities.
What does it mean for the future of West Toowoomba?
The West Toowoomba land use investigation sets a clear vision for the future. It provides direction to accommodate projected growth and on matters such as preferred land use mix and intensity, urban design and future infrastructure.
It is a plan for more than just houses. It is important that future development meets people’s daily living needs by providing a range of housing options in close and convenient access to a mix of jobs, local services and community, cultural and recreational facilities.
What was the process undertaken to consult during the preparation of the plan?
Engagement with our community and other stakeholders has been an important part of preparing the plan. Activities included:
- Series of three Think Tank sessions
- Youth day, filmed youth documentary, and ‘Pitch Your Future’ competition
- Instagram competition
- On-line engagement including quick polls and survey on concept plan
Over 400 people have contributed to the final plan during this process. Ideas and feedback generated through this engagement were used to shape the final plan.
For more information on the engagement process and outcomes please visit our Your Say website.
What is the status of the West Toowoomba land use investigation?
We adopted the West Toowoomba land use investigation as a non-statutory planning policy document. It provides a set of guiding principles to inform decision-making, land use and infrastructure policy, as well as planning for other community services and facilities.
The Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme is the tool that guides where and when development occurs, and the standard of development. The plan needs to be included in the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme to have effect.
How is the West Toowoomba land use investigation study being implemented?
The plan will be incorporated into the planning scheme, in stages that focus on the next 15-20 years. Amendments will be subject to state government review and community consultation before they take effect. There will be an opportunity to make a submission on proposed changes during consultation periods.
Not all of the plan outcomes can be implemented through the planning scheme and not all of the outcomes will be undertaken by us. A large proportion of future development will be delivered by private investment. The plan will guide owners and potential developers on the community’s expectations and our vision.
Has my zoning changed as a result of adoption of the West Toowoomba land use investigation?
The zoning of properties is stipulated in the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme. The zoning of land will not formally change until amendments take effect. The land uses shown on the West Toowoomba land use investigation structure plan represent our long-term intent for the area, and will inform amendments to the planning scheme.
Not all of the land included in the plan will be rezoned immediately. Because this is a plan for 30years zoning changes will occur progressively over time.
Will all of the study area be developed?
The plan provides the vision for the area and identifies the preferred land use, settlement pattern and development forms to achieve the vision. Most of the study area is rural and will continue to be used for rural production and rural living.
New urban areas have been identified which are mainly for housing of various styles. Land is also identified for other purposes such as recreation and community facilities, retail and local services, and employment activities that support new housing and population growth.
When will development happen?
Development will not happen immediately – this is a plan to guide development over the next 30+ years.
Land that is currently zoned urban can be developed in accordance with the planning scheme. This plan provides further guidance about the quality and intended development outcomes for existing urban land.
Where land is identified for conversion from rural zone to urban purposes, this will occur as land is progressively rezoned. A broad development sequence provides a rolling 15 years supply of urban land that will be used to guide zoning change. Council will periodically review the plan to ensure it continues to meet the city’s needs over time.
Who will develop the area?
Most development will be undertaken by private owners and developers. Our role is to establish a vision and a plan to guide new development, and to provide key infrastructure to support development.
What effect will the plan have on my rates?
The plan will not affect the rateable value of properties as it does not change property zones.
What area does the West Toowoomba land use investigation cover?
The West Toowoomba land use investigation study is a large area covering approximately 90km2. It includes the suburbs/localities of Cotswold Hills, Torrington, Glenvale and Westbrook in the east, and Wellcamp and parts of Charlton in the west. You can view a map of the study area here.
Will I have another opportunity to make further comments about the plan?
Consultation on the West Toowoomba land use investigation has closed. The adopted plan represents our planning policy position for the future of the area and will be used to inform drafting of amendments to the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme. There will be more opportunities to have your say on detailed amendments when they are proposed.
My property has been identified as greenspace. How does this affect me?
The plan proposes to build a major greenspace network focused on the creeks, hills and escarpments, as well as smaller local parks. These spaces are part of the distinctive character of West Toowoomba, support environmental values and offer a range of recreation experiences. Greenspace is identified conceptually in the plan and includes multiple properties. Further detailed planning is required to determine the amount and boundaries of greenspace.
In order to provide greenspace, we will need to bring land into public ownership over time. There is a need to provide this in a coordinated, efficient and sustainable manner as development occurs. The amount and location of greenspace, and when it is required, will be identified in future Local Government Infrastructure Plans and as part of development approvals. We will work with individual property owners and developers regarding future dedication and/or acquisition of property.
My property has been identified as Enterprise Employment Precinct. How does this affect me?
The plan identifies an area of approximately 400ha as Enterprise Employment in close proximity to major regional transport connections and the Toowoomba Enterprise Hub, and existing activities at Heinemann Road.
This precinct is an area of long-term transition and is not expected to be developed before 2031. Until required land will remain in the rural zone and can continue to be used for rural uses and rural living. The purpose of the precinct is to provide a future area for well-designed low impact industry activities and transport/logistic type uses.