A plan to address issues relating to the rapid growth of Heddon Greta and Cliftleigh is one step closer.
Cessnock City Council voted at last Wednesday's meeting to progress the development of the Heddon Greta-Cliftleigh Strategic Land Use Plan.
The strategic plan will be funded from the rezoning reserve and section 7.11 contributions, with council to engage a consultant to prepare the plan due to its urgency.
The Heddon Greta-Cliftleigh corridor has seen unprecedented growth in the past 14 years, and a further 3000 housing lots are on the cards.
The Hunter Expressway's opening in 2014 has amplified the traffic issues on Main Road, which - along with infrastructure and services - will be among the points addressed in the plan.
Ward D councillor Darrin Gray, who tabled the motion for the strategic plan at council in June, said the plan will develop a vision of the type of community the people of Heddon Greta-Cliftleigh wish to live in.
"It will take in the satellite view of how the villages that we live in interact with one and other, with better planned connectivity and infrastructure," he said.
"It is critical for our community to have its say.
"This strategic plan will direct private and public investment going forward, however more importantly during the development and adoption process it will give residents the opportunity to have a strategic voice in shaping that future."
Cr Gray said while there is "plenty of blame to go around" for the rate of development, it was time to focus on the future.
"By supporting this motion, this council is saying enough is enough, we want to shape a better future and how our communities will look in that future," he said.
"Council is looking forward, taking responsibility and with the community and their council working hand in hand will map a better way forward."
The next steps in the project include a project brief and background research, a community consultation plan (in collaboration with Maitland City Council), and a traffic analysis (in conjunction with Roads and Maritime Services).
A further report on the progress of the plan will be provided to council within six months.
Heddon Greta Residents Action Group members Steve Gilbey and Kim Newton welcomed the latest motion, particularly the quick turnaround.
"We're massively happy with the outcome so far," Mr Gilbey said.
"It proves the issue, that it's come so quickly," Ms Newton added.
The group, which formed in April, will continue to push for better services and infrastructure, particularly regarding road and pedestrian safety.
"We won't be forgotten; we won't let it go," Ms Newton said.