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Growth in the Hunter: Australia’s Leading Regional Economy

The Hunter is one of the fastest growing regions within NSW and is set to enter a new and exciting growth phase with a growing metropolitan area, greater economic diversification and global gateways linking to the rest of the world.

According to the Hunter Regional Plan 2036, the Hunter is the leading regional economy in Australia and is currently home to more than 860,000 people, a figure which is expected to grow to 1.1 million by 2036.

The Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan 2036 identifies Greater Newcastle as Australia’s seventh largest city and a global gateway for northern NSW, which faces a new future with investment in aviation, transport, education, health and tourism. The Plan provides strategies and actions to help drive sustainable growth across Cessnock City, Lake Macquarie City, Maitland City, Newcastle City and Port Stephens communities.

To help facilitate for the expected population growth, an additional 70,000 dwellings will be required in the region by 2036. The NSW Government expects the housing supply to be influenced by growth and change in the population across the region, which is likely to include a high demand for seniors housing due to an increasingly ageing population.

There will also be significant investment in infrastructure within the region to help support freight, health and education services, agribusiness and tourism.

Our Involvement in the Hunter Region

Barker Ryan Stewart has been located in the Hunter for over ten years, and our presence has been strengthened with the amalgamation of Pulver Cooper & Blackley who have serviced the Hunter for over ninety years. 

Town planning, including members of our team, has played an integral role in the development of the region, including its centres, growth areas and employment lands.  We are keen to continue to assist developers, councils and businesses to provide this growth and see the Hunter become a leader in housing choice, infrastructure, urban design and community development.

Our team has been involved in a broad range of developments across the Hunter region and some of our more recent project examples are listed below.  

Residential and Seniors Housing

  • Land and Housing Corporation Developments, Waratah West – Provision of assessment services relating to proposed social housing developments.
  • Wilsons Road, Mount Hutton – Preparation of a Statement of Environmental Effects to assist with obtaining development consent for a mixed-use development including seniors living units and retail space. 
  • Belmont Sporties – Preparation of Planning Proposal for the proposed rezoning of the site to facilitate additional permitted uses, including seniors housing and increased building height.
  • Denison Street Apartments – Preparation of a Statement of Environmental Effects, Heritage and Social Impact Assessment, Waste Management Plan and CPTED Report required for this mixed-use 15-storey development comprising 58 residential units and commercial space.
  • Church Street, The Hill – Preparation of a Heritage Impact Statement for a proposed residential development comprising of a single dwelling and dual occupancy.

Industrial and Commercial

  • Harvey Norman, Taylors Beach – Preparation of a Statement of Environmental Effects, CPTED Report, Waste Management Plan, and DA project coordination services to assist with successfully obtaining development consent for the new Harvey Norman store and large lot commercial / industrial lots in Taylors Beach. 
  • Aldi, Greenhills – Preparation of a Statement of Environmental Effects, Waste Management Plan, and CPTED Report to assist with obtaining development consent for the proposed construction of a new Aldi Store.

Hunter Water Corporation

  • Tomago Depot and Works along the Esplanade Warners Bay – Preparation of Review of Environmental Factors on behalf of Hunter Water Corporation for proposed intersection and road works in these two locations.


  • Hunter River High School Upgrade – Preparation of a Planning Approval Pathway Strategy for the master and concept plans required for the proposed upgrade of Hunter River High School.
  • Muswellbrook Tertiary Education Centre – Planning assessment for Muswellbrook Shire Council of the development application for the second stage of the Muswellbrook Tertiary Education Centre.


  • Stockton Ferry Cafe – Preparation of a Review of Environmental Factors for Newcastle City Council for the construction of a temporary café and associated works in Griffith Park.

Have an upcoming project in the Hunter?

This is just a small snapshot of the projects we have been involved with, from a town planning perspective. Barker Ryan Stewart has an experienced team of Planners, Civil Engineers and Surveyors that are well-resourced and positioned to assist in providing the services required for your development in the Hunter.

Our planning team can provide the following services to assist with your project:

  • Statements of Environmental Effects
  • Review of Environmental Factors
  • Environmental Impact Assessments
  • Heritage Impact Assessments
  • Social Impact Assessments
  • Waste Management Plans
  • Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) Assessments

If you have any questions on how we can assist with your development, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Barker Ryan Stewart office.

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