A PLAN for three new buildings on Newcastle harbourside land currently occupied by a car park underscores the urgent need for a city parking strategy, Newcastle Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp says.
As revealed by the Newcastle Herald on Monday, the NSW government has backed developer the Doma Group’s plan to build three residential buildings on a 7300 square metre site at Lee Wharf.
Construction on the 21 Honeysuckle Drive site could begin by the second half of 2017 if the state planning department approves Doma’s as-yet unreleased design.
On Monday, government agency the Hunter Development Corporation said the new residential buildings would comply with two heights: 24 metres along Honeysuckle Drive and 14 metres on the waterfront side.
As details of the plan emerge, Mr Crakanthorp called on the government to explain how its anticipated city-wide parking strategy would manage the loss of Lee Wharf’s 252-space car park.
“This is further proof that the car parking study needs to be provided by the government as a matter of urgency,” Mr Crakanthorp said.
“The loss of this car park will be felt by the small businesses in the area.”
In response, Transport for NSW said it had engaged a specialist and was working with “key stakeholders” in the city’s parking.
These included Newcastle City Council, the development corporation and UrbanGrowth NSW.
”At this stage, it is estimated a broad strategy for parking in Newcastle’s city centre will be developed by the end of the year,” a Transport for NSW spokeswoman said.
Property Council of NSW Hunter director Andrew Fletcher praised the government’s decision to put the Lee Wharf site to the market as having generated interest “nationally and internationally”.
But Mr Fletcher said the loss of the car park was “the elephant in the room”.
“Certainly, parking is an issue that gets people excited in Newcastle,” he said.
“But we need to come to terms with the idea that cities on any scale need to focus on reducing the amount of traffic congestion in their CBDs.”
Mr Fletcher said the successful private bidder for the newly-created Transport for Newcastle network would be “absolutely critical” to keeping the Honeysuckle precinct accessible despite the loss of parking.
As well as the car spaces that will go from Lee Wharf, another 370 near Throsby Creek are expected to be lost to development at Cottage Creek and Throsby Wharf.
Any deal between the government and the University of Newcastle to develop three sites in nearby Wright Lane would also likely erase 180 spaces, bringing the loss of parking at Honeysuckle to 800 spaces.