Local Character

Character is a critical element of our neighbourhoods that needs to be understood and considered while planning for change in the City of Newcastle. All areas have character and we want to understand what aspects of local areas the community value and want to retain while our city continues to evolve and change.

Tighes Hill acted as a pilot in this two-stage project, helping us review and refine the study before we replicate it across the whole council area.

Community engagement

In 2021, we worked with the Tighes Hill community through a number of online and in-person engagement activities to understand what aspects of Tighes Hill the community values and wants to retain as our city evolves.


What we heard

Community feedback found housing typology, building materials, boundary setbacks, street facades, Throsby Creek, gardens, public open space and key landmarks including Immaculate Heart of Mary, Tighes Hill Church Towers and Tighes Hill Public School contributed to the local character of Tighes Hill. From these discussions, it was evident the community valued styles and designs that are consistent with the character of existing dwelling houses. Alterations and additions which are subordinate to and use materials and finishes consistent with the principal dwelling were also favoured. Infill development that embraced the colours, materials and site setbacks of adjoining dwellings and streetscape were also preferred where they complemented and responded to the character of Tighes Hill.

What's next

The Tighes Hill Character Statement is based on what you told us at workshops and through submissions and comments on our webpage. The Tighes Hill Character Statement aims to guide future development in the locality to better consider and respond to local character. It includes sections on Current and Local Character and Specific Design Criteria for development. An extract of the Tighes Hill Local Character Statement is provided below.

We will be commencing the Kotara Local Character Pilot study, however COVID required the timing of this project to be delayed. Following the completion of the Kotara Local Character Pilot study we will be working hard to include the Character Statements within CN's Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS). We will also be including the Character Statements in Newcastle Development Control Plan 2012 (DCP). As the DCP is under broader revision..

Future changes to the LSPS and DCP will be subject to a report to Council and will be exhibited for comment and you will be able to provide further comment on the Tighes Hill Character Statement at this time.

Draft Tighes Hill Local Character Statement

Current local character

The current residential character of Tighes Hill is the result of its evolution over time, starting as a working-class town set around the Ferndale Colliery and then progressing to house BHP steel works employees. Tighes Hill is now a sought-after residential suburb with a diversity of housing.

In proximity to the city centre, Tighes Hill TAFE and Hamilton and Mayfield commercial precincts, Tighes Hill is a well-connected suburb with frequent bus services.

Tighes Hill is bounded to the south and west by Throsby Creek, which terminates many views enjoyed down the hilly streets. Pathways alongside Throsby Creek act as an active transport corridor connecting the suburb with neighbouring parks and pathways.

Partially because of its permeability and connectivity, Tighes Hill is a walkable suburb. It also hosts many local destinations including shops, cafes, parks, and a primary school.

Elizabeth Street is the gateway to Tighes Hill and village centre. It hosts numerous early landmarks including Tighes Hill Public School, Tighes Hill School of Arts, and the former police lock-up, all local heritage items. There is also a variety of residential styles including modern shop top housing and larger brick homes from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These are characterised by tiled roofs, more decorative features such as leadlight windows and more complex fretwork and wrap around verandas particularly on corner lots which address both street frontages.

The eastern part of the residential precinct was subdivided around 1910 and is characterised by a mix of cottages and larger bungalow-style homes. Many of these are more substantial brick and tile dwellings, set in elevated positions. Allotments and setbacks are larger. The subdivision of the Bingle Hill Estate in 1913 encouraged further development to the west of this area throughout the 1910s and 1920s.

Later development has occurred throughout the area, usually alterations and additions to original housing stock, and knock down rebuilds. Infill buildings represent the range of architectural styles from the twentieth century up to the present day. There are also examples of higher density development, such as apartment buildings and townhouses.

The public and private domain interface is highly valued, particularly front verandas, gardens, and low permeable fences that contribute to the overall character of less-developed streets. Mature street trees, grassed verges and public walking tracks are also important features.

There is a general lack of off-street parking in areas where original cottages have been retained; allotments are smaller, and setbacks are narrower. Some dwellings have been adapted to accommodate vehicles. Infill developments typically provide an integrated garage.

Desired future local character

The history of Tighes Hill as a working-class suburb is an important aspect of the past to be retained through the informed treatment of existing housing stock, and the respectful addition of modern housing.

Open space, landscaping, and established trees, located both in private and public land be retained and encouraged. This may be partially achieved by prioritising the retention of landscaped area at the expense of off-street parking and retaining space for front gardens.

Within the existing land use controls, opportunity exists for an increase in the number of dwellings, providing an opportunity for more affordable and diverse housing options that suit the changing population of Newcastle. However, an increase in housing density must positively respond to the local context and reinforce and enhance the existing local character. New building styles also present opportunity for more sustainable design and construction. Development proposals involving lot amalgamation, greater dwelling density and more affordable and diverse housing options must also demonstrate a positive contribution to local character.