Newcastle City Traffic Committee will meet on Monday to discuss the controversial bus layover site outside heritage-listed homes in Church Street.
Buses have been stopping on the street since November, after Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation told bus companies to cease use of the old layover site next to The Station.
Residents, who voiced concerns in December about the lack of consultation before the move and questioned why a more appropriate site away from homes was not chosen, are eagerly awaiting the next meeting in hope the site will be shifted.
They have sent formal complaints to Keolis Downer of fumes, noise, lights and oil spills, and are fed up with the situation given there is hundreds of metres of roadside outside James Fletcher hospital that could be used for buses to make their temporary stops between runs.
“The noise is intolerable, they are so loud,” one resident said. “They’re putting profit over people.”
The site was pitched to the traffic committee by Newcastle Transport operator Keolis Downer, in company with Transport for NSW.
The committee, which comprises the council, police, Roads and Maritime Services, and Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp, discussed the site in at least three meetings before approving it.
The Newcastle Herald understands Newcastle police were initially against the site – directly across from the city police station – as it would impact their operations.
Newcastle council raised concerns in one meeting about the site’s impact on residential properties, and Keolis Downer rejected a site on Reserve Road as the extra mileage would have had commercial implications.
A council spokesman said the site was “proposed by Transport for NSW” and “reasons justifying the temporary location” must be directed to it as the proponent.
Transport for NSW, which did not respond to questions about how long a layover site may be needed, said Church Street “represents the most viable location available at this time”.
“This location limits the overall number of bus movements in the east end – including across the light rail tracks – and enables better use of public space at The Station precinct,” a TfNSW spokesperson said.
“The Newcastle Transport operator, Keolis Downer Hunter, continues to consult with residents on Church Street regarding the layover.”
Newcastle councillor John Church has written a letter to the committee in support of residents’ concerns.
“I do not believe the state government and its agency HCCDC have properly accounted to the residents and the wider public the reasons for the closure of the bus layover on Wharf Road,” he said.
“Consultation has been poor in my opinion. Arguments about the conflict of light rail and buses at the intersection of Watt Street and Scott Street do not hold water as there seems to be little problem with the interface between buses and light rail at Stewart Avenue, a much busier intersection.”