State government pulls up short on details for Newcastle light rail plan

WICKHAM residents and business owners are keen for the state government to release more details of its plans for 11 hectares of undeveloped land when its light rail plans are fully unveiled.

The state government revealed two days before Christmas that heavy rail would end just shy of Wickham station, ruling out Hamilton and Broadmeadow as possible alternatives.

It also announced two options for the light rail route - using the existing rail corridor or running along Hunter Street to the mall.

But details about opening up crossing points, the future of the three existing rail stations or how much land is needed for a transport interchange were scarce.

Either way, the state government plans to use Wickham as a transport hub where light rail, heavy rail and buses will meet, effectively freeing up car traffic through Stewart Avenue.

The state government says more than 11 hectares of undeveloped land is available within 400 metres of Wickham, making it the ideal location to trigger economic growth.

Last week The Star contacted Newcastle state MP Tim Owen's office to ask when more detailed information will be released or when community consultation will take place, but he refused to be drawn into time frames.

Throsby Area Alliance member Lyn Kilby said she was disappointed by the lack of detail, considering how long the train debate had been going on.

She said the information provided by the state government in December raised more questions than it answered.

"This is the biggest decision that has been made for Newcastle in the past 100 years," she said.

"We want to know what Wickham station is going to look like 100 metres on either side.

"The infrastructure needs to be put in place around it so doesn't look like the city ends with the rail line."

Wickham business owner Matt Galvin said local residents and business owners were ready to have their say and help guide the planning process.

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