Premier Mike Baird confirms rail corridor open to development

PREMIER Mike Baird has confirmed land on the Newcastle rail corridor will be up for grabs for development once the heavy rail line is truncated, as reported in the Newcastle Herald.

But the type of development that would be permissible once the heavy rail is gone remains up in the air, ahead of state-owned development agency UrbanGrowth unveiling its proposals for the land.

Mr Baird said the commitment to giving the council a lead role in the decisions followed representations from Lake Macquarie independent MP Greg Piper, who had conveyed community concerns about the future of the corridor.

The government – along with Labor – refused to back a private member’s bill from Mr Piper, which would have prevented major development on the vacant land in future and restricted its use to public recreation, public transport, public art and cafes.

With only a few weeks to go until the heavy rail is closed on December26, Mr Baird isn’t backing away from the plans.

[SOR: the article refers to new crossings — something that SOR has long advocated and included in its own proposals. However, pedestrian crossings can be achieved without the removal of the existing rail line infrastructure]

Read the full article in the Newcastle Herald.