Newcastle Club gives cautious view of Hunter Street Mall redevelopment

CROWDED OUT: The 93-year-old Newcastle Club is set to lose its view of Newcastle Harbour if the Hunter Street Mall redevelopment goes ahead.
CROWDED OUT: The 93-year-old Newcastle Club is set to lose its view of Newcastle Harbour if the Hunter Street Mall redevelopment goes ahead.

THE $221 million redevelopment of the Hunter Street Mall will have “a severe to devastating impact” on views from the exclusive Newcastle Club.

As developer Iris Capital pushes ahead with its plan to breath new life into the city through an ambitious staged redevelopment of the mall, plans lodged with the city council reveal Newcastle’s most elite private club stands to lose the million-dollar views that its well-heeled members have enjoyed for the past 93 years.

While its website boasts views of Newcastle Harbour that give members the chance to “enjoy the beauty and fascination of a busy working port”, a development application for the mall project reveals the panoramic views are under threat.

Plans for a development of between six and nine stories on the corner of King and Newcomen streets would have a “severe to devastating impact” on the club’s view of Newcastle Harbour and the Hunter River.

And while members of Newcastle’s business class could hardly be described as anti-development, the club has expressed reservations about the height of the development put forward in development plans currently on exhibition with the council.

Newcastle Club chief executive Ian Baker said that while the club was not “anti-development” and had “never stood in the way of progress” its committee would consider asking the developer to lower the height of the King and Newcomen development to “preserve some of our view”. 

“The general feeling is that it would be disappointing for the club to see that, potentially, we would lose the majority of our view, but in saying that it’s very hard to stand in the way of progress and we don’t own the view, as much as we might grind our teeth,” he said.

A concept drawing for a planned development on the corner of King and Perkins Street. PICTURE: supplied

A concept drawing for a planned development on the corner of King and Perkins Street. PICTURE: supplied

The developer argues the overall proposal – which includes plans for about 500 apartments developed across four stages  – would have “broad public benefits” for the community, and that the “catalyst renewal” from the development “is of greater public value to the city of Newcastle”.

“Changes in cities can, and do, result in impacts,” the development application states.

“In some cases, the broader public, social and economic benefits outweigh the potential private impacts.”

Still, Mr Baker said the club would seek to speak to the developer about a compromise. 

“We wouldn't like the dominance of the building across the road to impact on the financial viability of the club if it affects member’s privacy.”

The mall redevelopment is on exhibition until August 10.