About Transforming spaces
In 2014 the heavy rail line into Newcastle was truncated at Wickham to revitalise Newcastle city centre through transforming the former heavy rail corridor. The vision was for open public space, new shops and residential opportunities, and connecting the city to the waterfront.
Over the past three years we have engaged with the community to find out what people want to see in Newcastle and this feedback is shaping our plans to revive the city centre.
What is proposed?
On 17 April 2018 the amendment to the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 to rezone the sites of the former heavy rail corridor came into effect. This formally rezoned the sites from infrastructure zoning to a combination of public open space, tourism and mixed use zoning to allow for new land uses.
In line with what the community has told us, more than three-quarters of the surplus corridor will deliver community benefit including education, public space, affordable housing and tourism.
The University of Newcastle is proposing to significantly increase its inner-city presence and become a major catalyst in the revitalisation of Newcastle by maximising two hectares of land (part of which is in the land associated with the rezoning) close to its NeW Space campus.
The new planning controls also provide land use zones to allow retail, commercial and residential opportunities that revitalise Hunter and Scott streets while respecting Newcastle’s heritage and character. New pedestrian and active transport connections are included in the plan to enhance accessibility in the city centre.
The rezoning process
As required by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, the planning proposal was progressed under the control of Newcastle City Council.
Council reviewed and amended the planning proposal and supporting documentation, in consultation with the Department of Planning and Environment.
The public exhibition of the proposed new planning controls took place from 11 September until 23 October. Council officers reviewed all submissions before the elected Council endorsed the proposal on 12 December 2017 for submission to the NSW Minister for Planning to make the amendment to the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012. Council also adopted amendments to the Newcastle Development Control Plan 2012 at the same meeting, which will provide more detailed development guidelines.
The LEP amendment was formally made on 17 April 2018.
New public open space
We have already responded to the community's wishes for new open areas and easy access around the city by creating seven pedestrian crossings over the former corridor and opening a new public domain.
Market Street Lawn is a community space on the former corridor at the intersection of Market and Scott streets in the city. We are programming the lawn with a variety of activities for you and your family to enjoy including music, markets, health and wellbeing events, and activities to entertain the kids.
We are continuing to plan other public domain areas along the corridor including around the intersection of Darby and Hunter streets, Newcastle Station and Civic. These areas will integrate with key transport and business nodes along Hunter Street.
During the Ideas Festival community engagement program in 2016, we heard your views on the future design and function of the two major revitalisation precincts surrounding Newcastle and Civic stations.
Learn more about the feedback on these precincts in the outcomes report.