Laman St redesign open to public comment

THE public will be asked for its feedback on a $1.8 million redesign of Laman Street after Newcastle councillors last night debated for an hour whether to put the proposal on exhibition.

Aspects covered in the draft plan include paving, street trees, underground vaults for the trees' roots, street furniture, kerb and guttering and street lighting.

Hills figs are suggested for planting to replace 14 Hills figs cut down in January and February, but other species are canvassed in the documents for public perusal.

Cr Nuatali Nelmes said she did not support the previous trees' removal and questioned the proposed spending.

"Unfortunately we're in a situation now where we're spending almost $2million rehabilitating about 200 metres of Laman Street," she said.

Meanwhile there was an escalation, especially in western Newcastle, of complaints about potholes.

"This is a gross spend on one small street in Newcastle," Cr Nelmes said.

Cr Sharon Claydon said the community had mixed feelings about replanting Hills figs.

"Certainly people have questioned to me, having removed the figs and being told how dangerous and unsafe these trees were, our replanting them is something of a mystery to people," she said.

Debate also centred on whether the red cedar tree should be listed with several species nominated in the plan as potential alternatives to Hills figs.

Lord mayor John Tate said the red cedar had a history in Newcastle.

Cr Michael Osborne said it was an early export from the city before coal.

Other councillors said the red cedar, with its capacity to grow to 60 metres, was too large.

Council officers said trees being considered for Laman Street would grow to about 20 to 25 metres.

Councillors voted to include the red cedar in a list of alternatives.

The plans will be on exhibition from Tuesday until May 25.

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