More Rail Corridor Rezoning

Filed under Cityscape, Community, Council, News ~ by Press on  11 Dec 2019

A proposal to rezone a section of Newcastle’s former rail corridor for community space will be open for public feedback early next year.

Pictured ~ Rail corridor land under rezoning, on western border of Market Street Lawn.

Planning Proposal for the site and draft amendments to the Newcastle Development Control Plan 2012 were approved for public exhibition by Council on Wednesday night. The proposals would enable the former rail corridor parcel on the western edge of Market Street Lawn and the adjacent Wharf Road carpark to be rezoned for tourism purposes, including both carparking and a possible future community space.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that under changes negotiated by City of Newcastle back in 2016, the land parcel cannot be developed for residential purposes.

Instead, the current planning proposal supported by Council will allow it to have a community purpose,” Councillor Nelmes said.

This will enable additional car parking in the short term with options for tourism-related uses in the longer term.

This important parcel of land is immediately opposite Iris Capital’s proposed five-star hotel. It also fronts Market Street Lawn. And perhaps most importantly it faces onto both Hunter Street and Wharf Road.

The space is also walking distance to Darby Street and Queens Wharf, making it undoubtedly one of the most important parcels of land in the CBD.”

The former rail corridor lot will be transferred to City of Newcastle by the Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation (HCCDC).

Any future development would be limited to 14 metres in height and subject to an architectural design competition.

It would also be subject to geotechnical investigations owing to the possible presence of material associated with the 1902-built Perkins Street Boat Harbour.

Draft amendments to the Newcastle Development Control Plan have been prepared to guide the future development of the site. These amendments and the Planning Proposal to rezone it for tourism will be exhibited for 28 days in February 2020, before a final report goes back to Council for determination. Pending Council’s support, the rezoning will then be sent to the Minister for Planning for final approval.

Following another resolution of Council, five harbourside lots stretching from the Cowper Street Bridge, Wickham, to Lynch’s Hub Café have been officially transferred to the City for permanent use as the harbour promenade.

Under the transfers from HCCDC, the shared harbourside path will remain, with HCCDC retaining easement access to parts of the land to maintain the seawall.

The transfer finalises a Council resolution on 16 December 2003 that the City agree to the transfer of HCCDC owned land provided as public access and/or as foreshore promenade. The five lots now considered ‘operational land’ by the City are 103, 91A and 87A Hannell Street, Wickham; 16 Worth Place; and 13A and 9 Honeysuckle Drive..

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