Monday, February 23, 2009
Selling Newcastle Streets
NCC is exhibiting for public comment (due this Friday) a road closure plan (nothing more than a map) for the closure and sale of Morgan, Thorn and Laing Streets to GPT, and closure (up to 18 months) of King and lower end of Wolfe, with the sale of their 'stratum' to GPT. It has been kept pretty quiet The concept of closure and sale prematurely endorses the GPT development without even seeing a DA.
Newcastle City Council's CBD road closure plan poses a number of problems. The plan requires the permanent closure and sale to GPT of Thorn, Laing and Morgan Street, and the closure, for over a year, of King Street and lower Wolfe Street. The stratum below King and Wolfe Streets would be sold to GPT to enable excavation for retail and carparking space. The plan, currently exhibited on the NCC website, is not supported by any documentation such as environmental, economic, traffic and heritage assessments. The CBDs 'fine grain' intimate character will be damaged with the loss of the 1823 'market square' street grid. The closure of King Street for over a year will cause traffic access nightmares. Regardless of any arrangements made between GPT and Council, the costs and consequences of selling public land to a private developer have not been articulated. Our council owes the public an explanation.
Submissions can be sent to the General Manager, Nctle City Council, King Street Nctle by Friday the 27th Feb 2009.