Newcastle’s march west has reached the M1 Motorway after a developer lodged $200 million plans for the Hunter’s largest residential subdivision at Minmi.
Sydney’s Winten Property Group has submitted development applications for more than 2000 house lots near the junction of the M1 and Hunter Expressway.
The development applications represent the bulk of a 517-hectare site Winten bought from mining company Coal and Allied in 2015, a $65 million transaction billed as the region’s largest residential land sale in terms of dollars and area in half a century.
The City of Newcastle has approved two smaller stages of the project, comprising 371 lots, in the past two years, and has now begun assessing a 948-lot development application with an estimated project cost of $106 million.
Winten has also lodged a separate application for an even larger, 1064-lot portion of the project on Lake Macquarie City Council’s turf.
The state government’s Joint Regional Planning Panel is the approval body for both applications.
The Minmi housing estate will envelop the historic mining village, but Clarice Hamling, the former secretary of the town’s now defunct progress association, said locals had known for some time they were about to have another 10,000 people living on their doorstep.
“We’ve had community meetings since it came to fruition that Coal and Allied was going to sell the last of their holdings,” Ms Hamling said.
“It’s been going well past a decade. We’re just watching how it goes …
“They’re trying to get something started, which is fine because we’ve been in limbo for so long now.”
In 2013, the state Planning Assessment Commission approved a five-stage concept plan for the site which included 3300 housing lots and two commercial centres.
Coal and Allied transferred 1500 hectares of bushland on the western side of the M1 to the state government as part of that approval before selling the Minmi land to Winten.
Third-generation Minmi resident Nigel Perry’s house in a semi-rural setting off Railway Street will be surrounded by new houses.
“I don’t think everyone wants to be as hemmed in as Fletcher and Maryland, but there’s no stopping development,” the mine electrician said.
“It’s been earmarked for quite some time.
“There were submissions from locals years ago about what they wanted with the development, and hopefully that still stands – public space and parks and all the heritage-listed places to be acknowledged.”
The Newcastle Herald approached Winten for comment, but the company did not respond before deadline.
Mr Perry said the arrival of more houses would add to traffic in the area, including on the already congested Minmi Road, but a traffic impact report submitted as part of Winten’s application says the development “will not adversely impact on the local road network”.
The estate includes standard building blocks, townhouses, larger “lifestyle” lots and land reserved for a new school.
Winten applied in late 2017 to start clearing land off Woodford Street, but the company withdrew the application last week because it was superseded by the recent development applications.
The latest step in the Minmi housing project continues the urbanisation of Newcastle’s western fringe beyond Fletcher.
The Herald reported in July last year that Central Coast developer The Stevens Group and Hunter Lands had lodged plans for a huge 183-hectare industrial estate at Black Hill, 5km north of Minmi, and the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle was proposing an even bigger industrial subdivision next door.