The Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP
Minister for the Hunter and Transport
1 Farrer Place
Thursday, 22 May 2014
Request for the Hon Pru Goward MP to establish Planning Commission of inquiry to hear
objections to the current Newcastle revitalisation proposals and alternatives
Parks and Playgrounds Movement is opposed to the illogical termination of the rail connection to historic Newcastle. Trams are a separate issue and a tram network could be established for Newcastle and suburbs quite separately to the current rail debacle. The existing rail corridor from Newcastle Station to Hamilton Station is principally a question of Tram/Train rolling stock to be used between Hamilton and Newcastle or existing rail services with the re-establishment of the over bridges and level crossings removed in recent years.
We ask the Minister for Planning the Hon Pru Goward MP to establish a Planning Commission of inquiry to hear objections to the revitalisation proposals and alternatives in a fair open and transparent way.
The announcement by Planning Minister Brad Hazzard in March 2013 that the rail would be cut to Newcastle and a new Terminal Station and Interchange built at Wickham is the sort of arbitrary announcement that is not acceptable as a base for the Newcastle Renewal Strategy. We insisted at that time that an Environmental Impact Statement should be prepared and exhibited setting out the social and environmental impacts and alternatives to justify this extraordinary announcement. Because of the lack of official consultation it is essential that a Commissioner be appointed to hear objections to the Revitalisation Proposals. This is made even more important because of the extent of the current ICAC corruption inquiry.
The Movement has watched proposals for removal of rail connection to the city as since 1952. Such proposal may have had some sense in 1952 when private transport was beginning to supplant public transport but today they are misguided and based on a false understanding of the morphology of Newcastle and future trends in public transport. The Development Application for GPT is another outrage and blight on the planning history of the heritage city of Newcastle. GPT has had a negative influence and the current proposals are unacceptable.
Ironically the rot began when the Newcastle City Council adopted a special rate in 1988 over properties within the Newcastle Business District to fund the activities of the Newcastle CityCentre Committee (registered 1996 deregistered 2008). In 2000 the Newcastle Alliance Inc was set up by Newcastle Council to implement the Council’s Merchandising Plan. The Newcastle Business Improvement Association Inc. registered in 2011 is now Council’s recipient of the rate funds. These bodies have been Council Committees spending rate funds in excess of $10million dollars. An enquiry should be held into the amount of funds collected and how the funds have been disbursed. The Movement was particularly concerned when the Alliance, became involved in political advertising for the last state election.
Works and Fort Scratchley)
2. Pacific Park Heritage Corridor: ( Convict Hospital and Convict Gaol sites and Customs House
3. Government House Heritage Corridor: (Earliest wharf and Government Administration Governor’s
House, Borough Council Chambers and King Edward Park)
4. Courthouse Heritage Corridor: (Newcastle Post Office, Historic Courthouse, Military Barracks )
5. Cathedral Heritage Corridor: Christchurch Cathedral 1828 focus of Town Axis, Cathedral
Cemetery, Borough Market and produce wharf (Queens Wharf)
6. Civic Heritage Corridor: (City Council and City Hall, Honeysuckle railway works. Civic Park and
7. Transport Heritage Corridor: (Great Northern Railway 1857, Newcastle Railway Station and Civic
Station, rail heritage)
Under today’s circumstances the two new replacement Level Crossings should be completed at Steel Street and Worth Place. (The roads each side of the railway have been in place for many years) and the three pedestrian over-bridges should be replaced at convenient locations between Wickham and Newcastle. The only other logical way to modify the rail is to introduce a number of Tram/Train carriages to run continuously between an improved terminal station at Hamilton and a revitalised Newcastle Station with a proposed Arrival/Departure concourse featuring views to heritage building and providing , travel facilities and food outlets. This could allow for as many road or pedestrian crossings as required in the future.
President Parks and Playgrounds Movement Inc