POLL: Kotara cinema v carparks

EDITORIAL: Kotara’s parking headache

Westfield Kotara has revived plans for an eight-screen cinema complex by lodging a new application that also includes a new restaurant precinct.

The retail giant has permission to build a 2200-seat cinema at Kotara, but wants to tweak the plans before proceeding.

Neighbours have already vowed to oppose the development, claiming that the changes will result in the loss of 250 parking spaces and could further aggravate parking problems in the surrounding streets.

The application would reduce the scale of the approved cinema from 2200 to 1375 seats, and includes a ‘‘minor increase’’ to the total approved area of the third floor.

‘‘The minor alterations ... will provide a modern dining and lifestyle precinct adjacent to the cinema foyer with internal access from within the shopping centre,’’ the application said.

A similar precinct at competitor Charlestown Square, including table-service restaurants, established in recent years has been particularly successful.

In its application to Newcastle City Council, Westfield said the development would be ‘‘substantially the same’’ as the already approved plans.

‘‘The changes will not create any significant impacts on the surrounding locality.’’

But Kotara and Adamstown Heights residents, who have been involved with a running battle with Westfield over parking, are concerned that plans include the removal of car spaces.

The vehicles of staff members who have been unable to secure a park inside the centre have often clogged nearby streets since the introduction of time-limited parking in 2010.

Overall parking will be reduced from 3080 spaces to 2830 spaces. Staff parking will be increased from 320 to 340 spaces.

In its application, Westfield said its plan supplied 78 more parking spaces than were required for the application.

Newcastle councillor Tim Crakanthorp said it was ‘‘outrageous’’ that the plan included an increase of  only 20 staff spaces.

‘‘Many more than that will be employees in their new facility,’’ Cr Crakanthorp said 

‘‘This will exacerbate the problems for local residents.’’

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