Howard Springs Rural Activity Centre

Proposed Planning Scheme Amendment

The Commission is pleased to advise that the Minister placed the planning principles and an Area Plan for the Howard Springs Rural Activity Centre on public exhibition as a proposed Planning Scheme Amendment. The exhibition period was from 4 August 2017 to 1 September 2017.

For more information please contact Lands Planning on telephone (08) 8999 3895 or Email:


Stage 2 consultation for the Howard Springs Rural Activity Centre Area Plan occurred during March 2017.

The community were given the opportunity to view and provide feedback on three options for the draft Area Plan and associated planning principles. The options and planning principles were developed in response to feedback received from the community, Litchfield Council, Litchfield Community Advisory Group, service authorities and NT Government agencies during Stage 1 consultation conducted in late 2016. 

The three options presented two possible levels of growth (low and moderate) and a number of different road network arrangements. All of the options aim to preserve the rural lifestyle of surrounding areas, protect the amenity and recreational values of natural features, and provide a safe and efficient local transport network for all users. 

What are Area Plans?

Area Plans provide a detailed framework for land use change, to guide the future use and development of land. There are two main components to an Area Plan. The map shows where opportunities for land use change exist, while the planning principles clarify the vision and requirements that apply to future development in the areas covered by the Area Plan.

Area Plans are included in the NT Planning Scheme and must be considered by the Minister or the Development Consent Authority whenever a rezoning or development is proposed.

Area Plans do not alter existing use rights and land can continue to be used in accordance with the current land-use zone.

Area Plans also do not automatically rezone land. If a landowner wants to develop in accordance with the Area Plan the landowner must first rezone the land by applying to the Minister responsible for administering the Planning Act

Area Plans try to look as far ahead as possible but, in time, they may be reviewed to meet the future needs and aspirations of the community. Any change to an Area Plan is a Planning Scheme Amendment and must follow the process set out in the Planning Act, including public exhibition.

The process to create the Area Plan

The Howard Springs Rural Activity Centre Area Plan is being developed over three stages. 

Three stage process for development of the Area Plan. Depicted as a horizontal flow chart. Stage 1 includes information gathering and analysis. Stage 2 includes preparing options for the Area Plan and further community consultation. Stage 3 involves finalising the Area Plan and recommendation to Minister. 

Stage 3 is the final stage of the project.  The Planning Commission will finalise and recommend the Area Plan and associated documents to the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics for public exhibition as a proposed amendment to the Northern Territory Planning Scheme.

Stage 3, happening now until Friday 1 September 2017 places the planning principles and an area plan for the Howard Springs Rural Activity Centre on public exhibition. The exhibition package can be found at