Newcastle community rallies to oppose high-rise buildings in city centre

Residents voice their concerns over plans for Newcastle high-rise buildings.
Residents voice their concerns over plans for Newcastle high-rise buildings.

PLANS for high-rise buildings in Newcastle's city centre should be abandoned until a decision is made on the city's controversial rezonings, Newcastle Greens say.

Newcastle councillor Therese Doyle said it was "outrageous" that residents were being asked to comment on plans proposed by UrbanGrowth and GPT when it is "currently unlawful" for them to be approved.

Her comments came after several hundred inner-city residents marched through the city last Saturday to protest against the development and the process employed.

Organised by Newcastle Inner City Residents Alliance, the marchers were most concerned about a lack of debate and consultation on 11th-hour changes to the city's planning laws that would allow the high-rise developments to go ahead in areas protected under the original plan.

In a submission to Planning NSW, resident Brian Ladd reflected the views of many when he said the trebling of building heights in the city's centre would "dramatically and negatively impact on nearby heritage buildings".

Allowing the UrbanGrowth/GPT project to proceed would not just disadvantage local businesses and residents, he said, but also other developers who have had to conform to another set of planning rules.

Newcastle council's Labor councillors, meanwhile, last night moved to have the alliance formally brief the council on its concerns.

Council staff have argued that residents should take their concerns to the Minister for Planning.