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EATERIES, an arts centre, open air cinema or an outdoor piazza should be considered for the future of historic Newcastle station, the results of consultation released by the state government on Monday night show.
However, the future of Civic station is less clear, with respondents to a community survey divided on whether the station's buildings should be demolished or reused, as the government flags its intention to prepare a development application for the prized land in the heart of the city.
The consultation, carried out by state-owned development agency UrbanGrowth late last year, involved school excursions, community “drop-in” sessions and two community workshops. Feedback was also provided online.
According to UrbanGrowth’s Ideas Festival Outcomes Report, respondents were unable to reach a consensus on whether Civic station should be demolished.
“While the station is not officially recognised as having heritage significance, people expressed personal and historical social connections with the station buildings, with some ideas focused on interpreting this in the new domain design,” the report said.
The Newcastle Herald has previously reported that the state government was considering demolishing Civic station to make way for apartments and open space.
While the report points out that respondents were divided on whether the station should be demolished, it also says that improving the amenity of the area through shade structures, gardens and seating is a priority for the community.
If the buildings are to be kept, respondents said, they should be reused for eateries and other public space.
The report makes no mention of building apartments on the 4000 square-metre Civic station site.
However, the state government did ask whether Newcastle station should be reused to address a shortage of tourist accommodation.
But that idea was rejected in two community workshops.
According to the report, the majority of respondents preferred the historic site be reused for new eateries, an outdoor piazza, art space and cinema under the stars.
Revitalising Newcastle program director Michael Cassel said the next steps for both former stations were to lodge a development application with the council.
Newcastle station will be reopened to the public for the first time in years, Mr Cassel said, with maintenance work and a development application to allow for temporary use to be lodged soon. He said permanent use for the station would be decided through expressions of interest next year.
This article first appeared on www.theherald.com.au
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