City of Newcastle has slammed a state government agency for escalating a subdivision plan at Broadmeadow after the council requested it be withdrawn due to feared impacts on a planned overhaul in the suburb.
The plan would separate operational rail land from a 2.701 hectare parcel "which is deemed surplus to operational needs".
City of Newcastle lodged a request for further information in February 2023, expressing concern that the subdivision will "compromise or conflict with the strategic planning of the Broadmeadow precinct" and asked the applicant to withdraw the application.
"The development application as submitted does not address how the proposed subdivision will not impede the desired outcomes for the Broadmeadow Regionally Significant Growth Area as outlined in the HRP 2041," the council's request for further information said.
City of Newcastle is in the process of preparing a high-level plan for Broadmeadow to unlock thousands of homes, job opportunities and public spaces and facilities.
The council feared that TAHE was subdividing the land to sell off, which the state government agency has denied and described as "misplaced concerns".
"We remain of the opinion the subdivision will not impact on heritage, movement and access connection, servicing and infrastructure nor will it influence realising future desired outcomes or strategies for the Broadmeadow area," TAHE wrote in a letter to the council.
A TAHE spokesperson said the entity intended on having an "ongoing role as the landowner of the Broadmeadow Locomotive Depot and its potential transformation into a mixed use residential and retail precinct, providing affordable and diverse housing options to the people of Greater Newcastle and the Hunter".
TAHE did not withdraw the application, and as the council did not make a determination within the 70-day period prescribed by planning regulations, TAHE requested the matter be referred to the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel.
City of Newcastle has criticised TAHE for escalating the proposal.
"TAHE's decision to proceed with the subdivision of the state government owned Broadmeadow Locomotive Depot is disappointing, as it runs the risk of being inconsistent with this important strategic planning about the future of the Broadmeadow Regionally Significant Growth Area and community views," a council spokesperson said.
NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen expressed support for TAHE's actions.
"TAHE has been directed to focus on maximising the value of its assets, especially surplus land near railway stations that could be repurposed to help solve the state's housing shortage and that's exactly what they're doing at Broadmeadow," she said.
The state government and the council both said they would continue working together to plan the Broadmeadow precinct.
"TAHE will continue to work with the Department of Planning and the Environment as well as City of Newcastle and contribute to their planning activities regarding the Broadmeadow Regionally Significant Growth Area," a TAHE spokesperson said.
The council said it was "committed to working with the NSW Government and the community to build a Place Strategy which will act as a blueprint for how the Broadmeadow precinct will change over the next 20 years, looking at the infrastructure, opportunities and constraints, and highlighting the planning controls needed to develop the precinct and get the best outcome for the area".
The subdivision plans have also angered heritage enthusiasts.
Chair of the National Trust Hunter branch Mark Metrikas said the proposal may "leave the Broadmeadow railway roundhouses, stranded and operationally non-viable, with a consequent negative impact on state heritage significance arising from contextual loss".
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