The Newcastle Herald reports that state development authority UrbanGrowth is urging the government to permit development on at least part of the Newcastle rail corridor that will be left vacant after the heavy rail is truncated, sources say.
With the heavy rail between Newcastle and Wickham set to be permanently closed on December 26, the powerful authority that was put in charge of the project – and is a partner in the Newcastle East End mixed redevelopment – is said to be eyeing up nearby land in the corridor in the vicinity of the current Newcastle railway station building.
Asked on Thursday whether it has put more residential or commercial development on the government’s radar, an UrbanGrowth spokeswoman said only: ‘‘No decisions have been made on how the rail corridor land will be used’’.
It is understood a separate proposal is for the Hunter Development Corporation to manage the land after the rail lines are removed.
When the government first announced plans to truncate the rail line in 2012, it ruled out use of the corridor for anything other than public space or new transport modes.
But since deciding on a light rail corridor that traverses only about half of the heavy rail corridor, it has left open the door to some development while rubbishing suggestions of high rise.
With less than two months to go before the rail line is closed, the government’s plans for the land remain under wraps.