New train stations on the Hunter’s rail lines, a ferry stop at north Stockton with a bus link to Newcastle Airport and light rail down Lambton Road at Broadmeadow.
They are some of the bold and radical visions layed out in a presentation given at a Property Council lunch in Newcastle on Friday.
Speakers from a Hunter Property Council taskforce presented ‘Maximum Opportunity 2.0’ to business and government figures, arguing for transport oriented development in Newcastle’s suburbs.
The study focused on the greater Newastle metropolitan area, which is predicted to reach a population of one million by 2066, and analysed the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan 2036 – and its predicted population increases in growth corridors – to create a view of how such growth might be achieved.
“The metro plan was identifying these growth corridors and these huge projections for population in the area, [but] a lot of people weren’t understanding what that meant in real terms,” Angus Rose, a design director behind the study, said.
“We undertook this study to effectively sandbox those ideas. So they become real and more legible, to not just our membership but the broader community. That allows us then to encourage discussions around the types of developments that could occur in those spaces.”
The study, which follows one completed in 2015 that examined the revitalisation of Newcastle, proposes improving transport access sites to encourage development alongside existing and new transport routes.
As part of the vision, a new Kotara train station would be built at the homemaker centre with an elevated walkway to link with Westfield.
The walkway would form part a redeveloped centre, which would retain its retail presence but include substantial residential developments above those premises.
The “shop-top” units on top of Marketown were referenced as an example.
Down the line in Lake Macquarie, Cockle Creek and Cardiff train stations were identified as weak locations for adjoining development, and new stations were proposed for Glendale, Argenton and a Cardiff site closer to commercial areas.
They were pitched as a way of developing a “vibrant district centre” in the area.
A new suburb at north Stockton with a ferry stop, marina, shops and housing, possibly aimed at retirees, would help create a link from the city to Newcastle Airport.
In Islington, a suburb predicted for growth, a new train station could anchor an education precinct at Tighes Hill TAFE and future development in Hamilton North.
Broadmeadow, perhaps the most likely vision to become a reality, was identified for redevelopment with light rail vital to the plans.
Along Lambton Road, properties would be redeveloped to house residential apartments, with those north of the road overlooking the touted redeveloped Broadmeadow sport precinct.
Some areas could be redeveloped already without changes to zoning, but others would need height and land-use restrictions altered.
Mr Rose said transport oriented development, which focuses on corridors, can help to provide new, and leverage existing, infrastructure.
“They make good sense; environmentally, economically and socially,” he said. “Good quality and appropriately located transit can enable a city to use market forces to increase densities near stations where most services are located, thus creating more efficient district centres and minimising sprawl.”
He added: “The elements of TODs include a rapid and frequent transit service, high accessibility to the transit station, a good mix of residential, retail, commercial and community uses, and high-quality public spaces with a focus on pedestrian and cycling activities.”