Heritage concerns

Coal River Precinct

Coal River Precinct

A HERITAGE Impact Statement of the likely impact of the Newcastle 500 Supercars on the historic Coal River Precinct has been lodged with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

The weighty document which was prepared mainly by Newcastle firm  Placemark Consultants concludes the event will have “no adverse impact on the historic themes, the values or the historic fabric of the Coal River Precinct around Nobbys”.

The impact statement is required because the site is listed on the State Heritage Register, but does not include the whole of the East End. 

University of Newcastle historian and spokesperson for the Hunter (Living) Histories Initiative Dr Ann Hardy said she held concerns about the event being staged across the historic precinct before a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) was put in place. 

“I question whether Supercars would have got this far had one been in place,” Dr Hardy said. 

She has called for the development of a CMP as an urgent priority for Newcastle. 

“The area is of outstanding national heritage significance,” she said. 

“A CMP outlines the heritage values of the historic site, considers any new use or development, comments on future uses that would diminish the character of a place (such as Newcastle East), and finally recommends appropriate and sympathetic uses.” 

A spokesperson for Supercars Australia said all heritage and environment issues were addressed in detail in the Heritage Impact Statement. 

“It is very specific,” the spokesperson said. 

“We want to make sure the heritage of the area has a high profile and the event showcases the history of the area.”

Newcastle City Council was not immediately available for comment. 

The Heritage Impact Statement  can be viewed at Wallsend Library and Newcastle Council Chambers. Submissions can be lodged until March 30.