Crescent Head community given fresh voice in planning

Published on 27 June 2024


The Crescent Head community and Council have moved closer to a joint vision for the iconic foreshore with the adoption of a revised plan for the holiday park and the formation of a community advisory group to guide future direction.

Taking a proactive approach to improve collaboration and trust with the Crescent Head community, Kempsey Shire Council on Tuesday adopted a revised version of the Crescent Head Holiday Park Concept Plan that was first adopted in 2021. In the same meeting 14 residents were appointed to the Crescent Head Advisory Group.

The new concept plan has been significantly adapted in consultation with the community feedback, with Council committing to ten new measures to deliver the community’s vision of the park.  Of greatest significance was the inclusion of camping sites in the northern most area of the park (Area 9) as part of a future public foreshore master plan, the removal of six cabins along Reserve Road (Area 5), and commitment to identify additional parking across the village.  To offset lost revenue, 11 additional cabins have been approved in the less prominent southern area of the park (Area 8),  

The plan still retains most sites as powered camping sites (over 130 sites), compared to around 40 cabins and five safari tents.

This feedback will continue as fourteen community representatives from the community were selected for the new community advisory group from 30 applicants, with one indigenous representative to be added. The group’s terms of reference were simultaneously expanded to include Willow Street car parking and parts of the Crescent Head Holiday Park footprint in the interests of inclusive community engagement.

Kempsey Shire Mayor, Leo Hauville, thanked all those who applied and the Crescent Head community for the detailed and thoughtful feedback on the plan.

“We are listening to the community and I want to thank all those who read or made submissions on the plan for their involvement,” said Cr Hauville.

“I particularly want to acknowledge the collaborative involvement by the Crescent Head Residents and Ratepayers Association, who have demonstrated the sort of ongoing relationship we hope to have with the community. It is in this spirit that we have created the Crescent Head Community Action Group and look forward to working with its members.”

“By endorsing the recommended CAG members and expanding the terms of reference, Council emphasises its commitment to addressing community concerns through collaborative planning, balancing community needs with strategic development goals, and ensuring the successful implementation of the Crescent Head Foreshore Concept Plan project.”


The five Council-owned Macleay Valley Coast Holiday Parks combined generate around $4.5 million each year which is used exclusively for the maintenance and improvement of all the Shire’s Crown Land Reserves. The Crescent Head Holiday Park contributes approximately 40% of this revenue. All the developments identified within the Crescent head Holiday park revised concept plan will require business case assessment and budget allocation or grant funding before they are acted upon.

The revised Concept Plan was placed on exhibition for two months, from 2 April to 30 May. Senior staff also attended multiple site meetings and met with approximately 50 residents at a pop-up engagement event. A total of 68 submissions were received through the Your Say Macleay website, and an additional 303 submissions were sent directly to Council.

The full plan and details of the Crescent Head Community Action Group can be found on Council’s website

Planning with the community

The iconic Crescent Head foreshore characterises the essence of the village and serves as a gathering place for local residences, a drawcard for visitors and centrepiece of the visitor economy and Macleay Valley Coast brand.

Council is working on multiple fronts to improve strategic planning, amenity and community consensus for the Crescent Head foreshore, including:

  • entering into a lease agreement on the Golf Course and Tennis facilities
  • adopting a Plan of Management for this reserve
  • progressing the Five Headlands Coastal Walk
  • creating the Community Advisory Group
  • reviewing the Crescent Head Holiday Park Concept Plan

The Holiday Park welcomes over 32,000 visitors to the Park every year, with an average stay of 3.9 nights, enabling visitors to enjoy Crescent Head and the broader region, representing approximately $27 million injected into the local economy each year.

In the short-term Council is deliberately reinvesting most of this revenue back into the Holiday Parks to replace assets with a view to increasing revenue to be invested across the shire in the future. This is particularly important given the state of some significantly run down assets and will put Council in a better position ahead of the upcoming retender and renegotiation of rates for the Management Rights at our Holiday Park in 2027.

The Concept Plan articulates Council’s intention to provide a diverse range of accommodation, including two and three bedroom cabins. It balances community concerns regarding appearance and the impact of over development, against the demand from visitors, benefits for the tourism industry and the revenue generated by the parks to support our Crown Land assets.

Amendments to the plan based on community feedback received when on exhibition include:

“Area 9”

Council has committed to reconsidering the use of the northern area of the park closest to the foreshore (also known as “Area 9”) after the current holiday park lease expires in 2027.

This will take place as part of a broader foreshore master planning beyond 2027 and will be led by the Community Advisory Group.

“Area 5”

The Concept Plan has been amended to remove the 6 cabins that were planned to go alongside Reserve Road (also known as Area 5) with the area now identified for self-contained powered sites.

We will continue to replace the existing eight cabins in Area 3, including one three-bedroom and up to four two-bedroom cabins, noting that modern cabins designs will require an expanded footprint, as shown in the exhibited site plan, and will encroach into Area 5. An additional accessible cabin will be placed at an appropriate location within the park. Within this area, we also intend to provide double depth parking in some sites to provide additional parking for two- and three-bedroom cabins.

“Area 8”

The changes made in Areas 5 and 9 will reduce the park revenue. This will be offset by improving the yield and offering additional cabins in Area 8, out of sight from the street or village. Council will review these designs with suppliers to ensure the design is in-keeping with the existing cabins, emphasising natural tones and timber, and considering sustainability.

Killick Creek footpath

Council resolved to maintain 24-hour public access along the Killick Creek footpath.

Willow Street parking

From February 2025, holiday park guests will no longer have exclusive parking rights in Willow St.

Parking investigation

Council has committed conducting a comprehensive investigation into additional parking spaces and implementing time limits.

Reserve Road fence

Council will maintain permanent vehicle and pedestrian access along Reserve Road and to realign the new fence at the entrance to Reserve Rd to improve access to the footpath and open up the greenspace area to the public.


Council will seek specialist landscape design advice to weed and replant the area from the garbage bin storage area and around to the Pacific Street boundary and will retain the existing pandanus trees.

Managers residence

The long-term planning for a two-storey managers residence and reception building will continue, noting that the building will not encroach on the former Health/Christian Surfer building site. The design will be revisited to connect with local environment and consider an increased setback from the road, if possible.

Holiday Park boundary

Council will survey the park boundary. Noting that the boundaries may change in Area 9, this will be delayed until after decisions have been made on this area.

The exhibited Revised Concept Plan never proposed any expansion of the Holiday Park boundary. The existing boundaries remain the same as those adopted in the 2021 Concept Plan.

Additional fencing will be avoided where possible to avoid restricting public access


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