Laman Street reconstruction could take '12 months'

THE reconstruction of Laman Street will take ‘‘10 to 12 months’’, Newcastle City Council heard last night as the council’s management was grilled about an Anzac Centenary funding submission for the street.

Concept plans for ‘‘Anzac Centenary Place’’ were submitted to the federal government in September 2010 and have since attracted considerable criticism from supporters of retaining Laman Street’s fig trees.

GALLERY: Laman Street without the figs

Laman Street has been the site of heated protests and the figs have been chopped down. However, the council said it would replace them.

Concerns raised by councillors last night included that the plans had not been endorsed in any way by the elected council, that the RSL had not been properly consulted, and that concept designs appeared to show the relocation of the memorial grove in Civic Park.

Cr Michael Osborne said the council had told the NSW Land and Environment Court in September 2010, during a court case on the fig trees against the Parks and Playgrounds Movement, that it had no proposals for Laman Street.

Cr Osborne also said councillors should have had a say on the plans.

‘‘One of the problems with the submission process was that a submission the council sent in wasn’t endorsed by council,’’ he said.

‘‘In future submissions ... really should come to the elected council.’’

Council future city director Judy Jaeger stressed last night that the plans were ‘‘conceptual’’, had not been costed or designed in detail, and would require further design if the federal government indicated it was interested in funding the idea.

Ms Jaegar also said any revamp of Laman Street would need to conform to relevant plans of management for the civic precinct.

General manager Phil Pearce said during the meeting he estimated the reconstruction of the street would take up to a year, and that a report including design for the reconstruction would be discussed on March 20.

Ms Jaegar said the reconstruction and Anzac proposal were based on principles and objectives adopted by the council for Laman Street and the civic precinct.

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