Why is Council reviewing the Strategic Tourism and Recreational Planning Study /SP3 tourist zone now?

At the time that the Strategic Tourism and Recreational Planning Study (Stafford Report) was commissioned, Council was preparing a single comprehensive LEP and was keen to facilitate tourism and recreation development.  However, in July 2012, the then Minister for Planning sent a letter requiring Council to prepare a new principle LEP, based on the Standard LEP template. Given the tight schedule for preparing DLEP 2013, only certain  recommendations were able to be incorporated
into the DLEP 2013, such as the recommendation that  ‘treatment of the Megalong valley as a place
in its own right’. Nevertheless, there were still a number of recommendations that could not be  ncorporated into DLEP 2013 at that time, which Council was keen to review. One of the  recommendations not included into DLEP 2013 was in relation to 15 specific sites and at the Extraordinary Meeting on 23 October 2014, Council resolved:

“M.Studies.1 That the Strategic Tourism and Recreation Planning Study’ be reviewed in relation to the
use of Special Purpose – Tourist zone for specific sites within the Blue Mountains, as part of the preparation of a future revision of Council’s principal planning instrument.”          
[Minute No. 1195]


M.Studies.2 That an Options Paper on the review of the Strategic Tourism and Recreation Planning Study be presented to Council in April 2015.”

What are the provisions of the proposed SP3 zone?

The SP3 (Special Purpose) – Tourist zone is a Standard Instrument zone. The mandated objective is as follows:· 
              To provide for a variety of tourist-oriented development and related uses.

The Standard Instrument requires only two uses be included in the zone as permissible with consent. These uses are:

  • Tourist and visitor accommodation (group term)
  •  Food and drink premises  (group term)

However, Council is proposing that a SP3 – tourist zone would a number of additional uses, and would include the following land uses as permissible with consent:

Tourist and visitor accommodation (group term); Food and drink premises  (group term); Camping ground; Caravan park ; Eco-tourist facility; Function centre; Information and education facility; Kiosk; Recreation facility (indoor); Recreation facility(major) and  Recreation facility (outdoor)

The additional uses are being considered for a number of reasons including:

  • Recognition of existing uses on some of the sites; and 
  • In keeping with the stated intent of the Stafford Report to permit environmentally sustainable and or larger scale tourism development options. 

Council is proposing that clause 6.28 'Rural And Nature Based Tourism Development', which applies to land in the RU2, RU4, E3 and E4 zones, and limits development to ‘low scale development’, would not apply to development in the new SP3 – Tourist zone.


Why are there only a limited number of sites being reviewed?


These sites along with possible options for future development, were specifically cited in the recommendations of the Strategic Tourism and Recreation Planning Study (also known as the Stafford Report).  One additional site is being reviewed as a result of submissions made during the exhibition of DLEP 2013.

If a property is rezoned SP3 Tourist zone, is a Development Consent for tourist development still required?

Yes, unless the proposed development complies with the SEPP Exempt and Complying Codes.

What about other sites that operate tourism businesses?

While there may be additional sites in the Blue Mountains that meet the criteria for rezoning to SP3-tourist zone, the current consultation period is focused on those specific sites recommended for review by the Strategic Tourism and Recreation Planning Study (also known as the Stafford Report).  Further sites may be considered in the future as part of an overarching Council strategy on desirable tourism development.

Which sites are discussed in the Options Paper?

Sites discussed it the Options Paper area as follows. Only those sites marked with (SP3), are being considered for partial or full rezoning to SP3-tourist zone.

1.  Blackheath Caravan Park (SP3);

2.  The Rhododendron Garden, Blackheath;

3. Vacant Land on Hat Hill Road, 274–318 Hat Hill Road, Blackheath (SP3)

4. Megalong Valley 

5.  Hydro Majestic Hotel(SP3),

6.  Katoomba Airfield, Medlow Bath

7. ‘Radiata Plateau’,28 Pulpit Hill Road, Katoomba

8. Echo Point including: Scenic World (SP3); Echo Point Lookout and Echo Point Motor Inn

9. Leura Golf Course including  (Fairmont Resort -SP3)

10.  Breakfast Point and environs, Wentworth Falls

11.  Wentworth Falls Lake 

12. Queen Victoria Hospital, Wentworth Falls (SP3)

13.  Former Lawson Golf Course,

14.  South Lawson Park,

15.  Lapstone Hill Reserve, Glenbrook and

‘Khandala’ 19 Birdwood Avenue, Katoomba

In addition, the site occupied by the Echo Point Motor Inn is being reviewed with the intention of changing the zoning from R6 (Residential Character conservation) to R1 General Residential.