IN 2015, the Property Council of Australia produced a document called Maximum Opportunity, which it described as a policy response to the Revitalising Newcastle proposals being put forward at the time by the NSW government.
Four years later, the developer group has unveiled Maximum Opportunity 2.0, showcasing a range of follow-up ideas for the rest of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
Now, as was the case in 2015, the property council argues the need for strong links between urban development and major transport routes.
To this end, most of the major spaces it identifies as ripe for urban consolidation are on existing heavy rail routes.
The notable exception is a rather ambitious residential development north of Stockton, running from the existing town edge at Cobbora Oval through the Fort Wallace site to the edge of the Stockton Centre.
Much, if not all, of this area is in government hands, and talk of residential development has done the rounds for years. An aerial image shown at Friday’s Property Council lunch portrayed rows of large housing blocks, the eastern-most strip on the edge of the sand. Even with the provision of a North Stockton ferry stop to improve public transport, such dense development on a narrow peninsula looks at first glance at odds with the principles of environmentally sustainable development.
Elsewhere, the property council sees at least some of the old gasworks site at Clyde Street, Hamilton North, given over to housing, while on the main rail line it proposes shifting the Broadmeadow, Kotara and Cardiff railway stations, while adding in new stops at Argenton and Glendale – the latter the site of the long-awaited transport interchange.
Given the difficulty the region has had in obtaining funding for the Glendale interchange, some might say there would be no chance of funding to move existing stations, even if the business cases were solid.
But if Newcastle and Lake Macquarie are to grow with the sort of population increases envisaged by government planners, appropriate infill development will be the major way of avoiding unwanted urban sprawl. And formally planned suburban developments will inevitably be part of the mix if Newcastle’s desire to be a “global gateway city” is to mean something more than a cluster of high-rises at the western end of the CBD. ISSUE: 39,125.