Council greenlights rail rezoning

12 Dec 2017

Newcastle City Council has endorsed the delivery of 100 to 150 dwellings, around 4,000sqm of land for commercial and retail use and more than 14,000sqm of public space along the former heavy rail corridor.

The move clears the way for the Department of Planning & Environment's final approval to change the land use along the 1.53km strip from railway infrastructure to:

  • Education between Worth Place and Civic
  • Mixed use, including affordable housing, between Civic Station and Merewether St
  • Public recreation at Civic and from Perkins St to Newcomen St
  • A mix of dwellings, retail, commercial and public recreation from Merewether St to Brown St
  • And a tourism zone at Newcastle Railway Station

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said a number changes had been made to UrbanGrowth NSW's original proposal and that advocacy for council's own revitalisation strategies had paid off.

"Council sought an integrated transport plan for the greater Newcastle metropolitan area inclusive of light rail extension, cycle ways, expanded ferry services, improved pedestrian links and major road upgrades and the draft future plan was issued by the NSW Government recently, which is a first for our city," the Lord Mayor said.

"We also managed to secure increased provisions for affordable housing essential to creating an inclusive community in the inner city.

"In the final upshot, the number of dwellings along the corridor has been reduced by more than 500 while public open space has been expanded by more than 3,000 sqm.

"During consultation the community has supported a well-considered mix of open space, residential and commercial space with affordable housing and educational and tourist facilities."

A telephone survey of 955 residents, by ReachTEL, saw 57.5 per cent of people support mixed-use development, university or recreational uses along the old corridor and 34.7 per cent call to for the rail zoning to remain in place.

A request will now be made to the Department of Planning and Environment to finalise the planning proposal to amend the Local Environmental Plan by which future development applications are determined by Council.

Council also resolved last night to adopt associated amendments to the Newcastle Development Control Plan and Newcastle Urban Rail Transformation Program Planning Agreement.

The DCP, which details controls for buildings and public domains within the rail corridor, establishes four key precincts along the corridor: Civic Link, Darby Plaza, Hunter Street Live-Work Units and Newcastle Station and Foreshore Park.

Each comes with a clear set of objectives that must be considered in future development.