As reported in the Newcastle Herald on Wed 04/06/2014:
THE state government has confirmed it will allow development on the Newcastle rail corridor.
Despite previous indications from the government that the corridor would be reserved for green space and public use, Planning Minister Pru Goward said yesterday ‘‘there will also be some development’’ on the vacant land after the heavy rail is cut at Wickham.
Previous planning minister Brad Hazzard had said the land would be retained for public use: ‘‘What we’re really talking about here is a guarantee, no doubt about it, it stays in public ownership, and must remain as a potential corridor.’’
Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson accused the government of acting ‘‘fraudulently’’ and said the intention had been to develop the space all along.
‘‘We’ve said for some time that it seemed the only logical reason to want to cut the rail line, it is the only land in Newcastle not undermined,’’ she said.
‘‘The only possible logical reason to take out one rail line and put another a few feet away is the development value of it.
‘‘Whenever we’ve tried to suggest that there has been a loud cry that it’s going to be a green corridor and not development, we feel this has been a fraudulent statement.’’
The government is yet to outline a timetable but has said work would start this year, with truncation potentially completed by the year’s end.
Before choosing its light rail route, it had suggested it may cover over rather than remove the heavy rail tracks.