THE decision to cut Newcastle's rail line at Wickham was the hot topic of conversation in community forums held by the state government last week.
Despite conversation on Newcastle's rail line declared "not up for discussion" by the Department of Planning's Liam McKay, more than 200 people packed out City Hall to voice their concerns about the Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy and their disgust at the rail line being cut.
Mr McKay repeatedly told upset and frustrated crowd members that the rail decision "was made by cabinet" and urged residents to instead make a written submission.
The forum heard the renewal strategy planned to remove clutter in Hunter Street, transform the west end into the new city centre as well as establish a series of new links between the city and the waterfront.
The plan also proposes other upgrades that would see the city accommodate 12,000 residents, 6000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs.
It was also said the decision on rail would provide "seamless travel" options and according to Steve Enticott, general manager Transport Planning at Transport NSW, the decision to end the rail line at Broadmeadow had not been dismissed.
He also estimated that up to six buses would replace the rail line to the inner Newcastle city throughout the morning peak hour.
■ Submissions on the strategy can be made to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure by Sunday, March 17, addressed to Manager Centres and Urban Renewal Department of Planning and Infrastructure, GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW, 2001 or by email. to firstname.lastname@example.org.