19 June 2012
Newcastle Greens today called on the state government to urgently release details of its promised plan for revitalising the Newcastle CBD, in the light of this week’s announcement that Landcom will be buying up much of GPT’s CBD land.
“The state government’s revitalisation plan for Newcastle is now long overdue, and the community has been given precious little detail on what the Coalition is planning, and how it is going to be delivered,” Newcastle Greens Lord Mayoral candidate John Sutton said.
“Newcastle Greens welcomes any serious attempt to revitalise the Newcastle CBD, and this week’s announcement of Landcom’s direct involvement in developing key city sites could be a step forward, provided Landcom adopts a consultative approach with the Newcastle community, and works within local planning controls.
“Newcastle has seen some very successful examples of the local community, the council and the state government working collaboratively on urban renewal projects, such as the restoration or adaptive reuse of heritage buildings in the Honeysuckle area, and foreshore and public space developments, such as the Throsby Creek/Honeysuckle waterfront promenade and the Foreshore Park.
“This is the kind of vision and approach that could succeed here.
“Unfortunately, we’ve also seen plenty of contrary examples, where the state government has put profits first, imposed its will on the local community and the council, and overridden local planning controls, resulting in either bland mediocrity (as in much of the Honeysuckle development) or gross overdevelopment (as in the Crowne Plaza and Royal Newcastle Hospital site developments).
“This approach typified the way former Labor state governments worked during the 1990s and 2000s. How this week’s announcement by the Coalition Government plays out will test the genuineness of the O’Farrell government’s commitment to do things differently.
“Unfortunately, Landcom doesn’t have a good track record for community consultation, or for delivering developments that are public-transport friendly and that comply with local planning controls.
“If it wants to prove its credentials here and distinguish its approach from the former Labor government, the Coalition needs to affirm the key role that the Newcastle rail line can play in the city’s revitalisation, and decisively reject the push by vested interests to cut it.
“It must also make a public commitment that any Landcom development in the CBD will comply with local planning controls and approval processes,” Mr Sutton said.
For further information or comment, contact John Sutton (Greens Lord Mayoral and Ward 4 candidate for Newcastle) on: 0411 154 004.
Also see John Sutton’s election campaign blog, at: http://johnsutton4council.blogspot.com.au/