Construction of the Newcastle Bus Interchange has received planning approval to proceed, following the four-week public display of the project’s Review of Environmental Factors (REF) document in June and August.
The new interchange is designed to improve connectivity between heavy rail, light rail and bus platforms.
The project will see bus facilities and passenger drop-off areas built adjacent to the Newcastle Interchange on a site now occupied by the former Newcastle and Suburban Co-Operative Society store building.
To make way for the proposed development, this building, where the Co-Operative Society Store operated between 1898 and 1981, will be demolished.
Feedback to the REF has led to the design of measures intended to preserve the history of the building, including establishment of a “Heritage Reference Group” and the preparation of a “Heritage Interpretation Strategy”, which will include the recording of an oral history of the site.
Archival recording and the setting-up of a heritage reuse strategy will occur prior to the building’s demolition.
“We know this site is important to the social and cultural history of Newcastle and we plan to make sure its legacy is recognised in any future development on the site,” Revitalising Newcastle program director Michael Cassel said.
“We’ve taken community feedback on board to make sure the future bus interchange recognises Newcastle’s history, and is ready for its future.”
The bus interchange proposal is part of the government’s $650 million Revitalising Newcastle program, the stated aim of which is to improve connections between the city and the waterfront, open more public spaces, provide opportunities for job-creation, and deliver better transport options.
The REF report states that the new bus interchange will improve connectivity between heavy rail, light rail, bus platforms and pedestrian access between the station concourse, the interchange, and Hunter Street and Stewart Avenue.
Construction of the bus interchange is planned to commence in mid to late 2018.