Newcastle rail corridor development control plan on exhibition

PLANS to rezone the former heavy rail line’s path are open for public comment. 

Newcastle City Council is exhibiting the plan, which outlines a mix of uses including public recreation, residential and commercial precincts along the two-kilometre stretch between Worth Place and Watt Street. 

"The public exhibition period is an important part of ensuring a balance of open space, tourism facilities, and residential and commercial development along the corridor," Newcastle City Council interim chief executive Jeremy Bath said.

"This is a one-off chance to get the next exciting stage of the city's development right after a record $1 billion worth of building approvals over the past 12 months."

The Newcastle Herald reported in May that the the plan would, if approved, create several new precincts where the trains once ran. Darby Street would pool into a plaza opposite where it strikes Hunter Street to create a link through to Argyle Street. 

Nearby, sitting at the top of Crown Street, a small scattering of shop-top housing similar to that in the Hunter Street mall could be built bordering onto green space running east towards the Market Street lawn.

The plan’s public exhibition period was pushed back after Greens and Labor councillors decided to seek more information about traffic and public transport in the CBD first. 

Documents now on exhibition include the development control plan, which details requirements for building design and public areas, while a planning agreement shows the Hunter Development Corporation’s commitments to parks, affordable housing and infrastructure. 

The documents can be read online, at the King St city administration centre or Newcastle Library.

Feedback will be incorporated into another report to the new elected council before the end of the year, and will address issues raised and potentially propose amendments. 

The Department of Planning will be asked to finalise the proposal if the council supports it. 

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