Rail-line confusion central to car parks

PLANS for the $55 million Honeysuckle Central development have been modified to include more parking, after the NSW Planning Assessment Commission ruled there was "significant doubt" about the future of the inner-city railway.

The development by Nathan Tinkler-backed company Buildev will include three eight-storey commercial buildings on a site bounded by Honeysuckle Drive to the north, Wright Lane to the south, Worth Place to the west and a new road to the east.

Honeysuckle Central was approved in 2009 and work was expected to begin late last year, but Buildev delayed construction last year to work through new compulsory energy ratings with potential tenants.

The developer also asked that it be allowed to remove two entry points and modify a facade to provide an additional 63 parking spaces.

The NSW Department of Planning referred the matter to the commission, which ruled in favour of the plan last week.

Buildev had argued that uncertainty about the rail line, the unreliability of train travel, market demand for A-grade office space with parking, and existing parking problems at Honeysuckle justified the additional parking.

In a letter confirming the approvals, the commission wrote that "the uncertainty of the future of the rail line and station raised significant doubt on the issue of accessibility via rail transport".

"[We] also note Newcastle City Council's comment that the proposed additional space would reduce the need for on-street parking," the commission wrote.

"[We are] satisfied that the additional parking spaces proposed in the modification application will have minimal impact on the mode of travel to work".

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