A developer wants Newcastle council to approve a Wickham apartment block at almost double the height limit in return for nearly a million dollars.
Councillors voted on Tuesday night to place on public exhibition a proposed agreement with the developer behind the Neufort Wickham project in Railway Lane.
The deal would allow the developer, Blake Organisation, to increase the height of an approved building in Railway Lane by five storeys to 45 metres.
In return, the council would receive $955,000 to pay for public domain works near the development, which overlooks Wickham Park.
Blake won approval from the Hunter Joint Regional Planning Panel in 2017 for a nine-storey building with 150 apartments behind the Lass O'Gowrie Hotel.
The developer lodged new plans two years ago for a much larger building, including five more floors and 40 more apartments, and the cash-for-height offer.
The amended plans put the building 19 metres above the planning height limit for the site, though the council's 2017 Wickham Master Plan envisages a 45-metre limit for that part of the suburb.
A staff report presented to councillors on Tuesday said the developer had taken the council to the Land and Environment Court over its deemed refusal of the amended project.
The staff report said the planning agreement was not subject to the court proceedings and was a "separate matter for City of Newcastle to resolve".
The council also approved a $3.1 million off-road cycleway from The Junction to Merewether beach via Watkins Street.
The path is stage one of a planned cycling route to the CBD.
The council has prepared preliminary plans for the next section, from The Junction to Laman Street.
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