NEWCASTLE’S inner city property values will most probably plummet if the rail line is removed, a Western Australian-based land-use and transport planner has predicted.
James McIntosh also told a Save Our Rail forum yesterday that removing the rail line would make the city’s future growth largely dependent on car travel.
‘‘When people ask me about the reasons for taking the rail line out I don’t have an answer. Within my sphere of professional and academic knowledge I can’t come up with a reason why [it should be removed],’’ he said.
Yesterday’s forum, attended by seven people, followed Mr McIntosh’s Politics at the Pub presentation on Tuesday to an audience of about 100.
Earlier that day about 80Save Our Rail supporters marched on Parliament House in Sydney to demand the government overturn its decision to cut the Newcastle rail line.
Mr McIntosh said Perth’s integrated metropolitan transport system had resulted in the consolidation of commercial and residential buildings across the city.
This, in turn, had resulted in a significant increase in residential property values around the Freemantle line.
‘‘What you see is accessibility [to public transport] being monetised into economic and financial benefits,’’ he said.
‘‘A willingness to pay to increased accessibility results in property value increases.’’
Mr McIntosh is completing a PhD under the supervision of Peter Newman, who has also argued in support of retaining the Newcastle rail line over the past decade.
He said those who lobbied for removing the Newcastle rail did not acknowledge its social and economic value.
‘‘Regardless of whether rail is important to the people of Newcastle today, it’s certainly going to be if the population of Newcastle doubles,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s going to be critical in the future because Newcastle will die under a sea of cars and the costs of providing that infrastructure.’’