UrbanGrowth’s freshly lodged application to rezone the land along the Newcastle rail line confirms what locals have suspected all along, that the cutting of the rail line was to facilitate intensive development along the corridor.

See reporting in the Newcastle Herald here. 

A protest and media conference will be held at 11am Thursday 7 July at the Railway Crossing at the corner of Wolfe and Scott Street with Greens MP David Shoebridge and Newcastle Greens Councillor Therese Doyle.

Newcastle Greens Councillor Therese Doyle said:

“This makes it even more urgent that Newcastle Council commence any reasonable legal proceedings to prevent the council being sacked.

“Any preliminary discussions leading up to and including a final decision to rezone this public land needs to be made by democratically elected councillors, not a handpicked Administrator imposed by Mike Baird. A key feature of the proposal is to allow private, multi-storey development along the corridor. It is unconscionable that an unelected body should be guiding this proposal towards fruition.

“This site has been, and will continue to be, the vortex of a  monumental struggle by the people of Newcastle for public space, public transport and just plain decency.” Councillor Doyle said.

Greens MP and Planning Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“This rezoning application should surprise nobody, because the closure of the rail line was never about improved transport but was always the Baird Government pandering to the developer industry.

“What is disappointing is just how appallingly predictable this all was, from day one the Greens opposed the closure of the rail line because we know just how toxic the link between government and developers is in NSW.

“We know from past experience that as soon as public land is rezoned, open space is lost and private profits wins out.

“The photo montages being spruiked by UrbanGrowth have no connection with reality, their proposal is a blanket rezoning of public space.

“If Novacastrians wanted a rolled gold reason to protect their council from Baird’s forced amalgamations, this is it. We can be certain that a handpicked Administrator will approve this rezoning as a first item of business.” Mr Shoebridge said.