An artist's impression of the Newcastle light rail

The City of Newcastle will sign a memorandum of understanding with UrbanGrowth NSW that acknowledges the council’s role in the urban renewal of Newcastle and defines how the two bodies will work to implement the state government’s controversial Newcastle Urban Transformation and Transport program.

The key principles of the MOU are to acknowledge that while there are differing views, particularly around building heights in Newcastle East, the council and UrbanGrowth NSW will work together, within their respective governance frameworks, to deliver the urban transformation project.

“City revitalisation and urban renewal is a key priority for Council and for the City,” Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“It is important that we work together to achieve the best outcomes for Newcastle particularly encouraging investment and jobs in the city. Council has been very clear that building heights are to be within LEP limits and Newcastle’s heritage character must be preserved together with upgrading public spaces in our city for everyone’s benefit.

“The MOU is a good opportunity to reset the relationship and encourage collaboration between Urban Growth and Council.”

Ms Nelmes has also been added to a local steering group that will also include UrbanGrowth NSW, Newcastle council planning director Peter Chrystal and general manager Ken Gouldthorp.

“I’m pleased that we’ve established a local steering group with local council representation to help better inform this process,” Ms Nelmes said.

More elements of the program than building heights have come under attack, however, with EcoTransit Sydney’s Gavin Gatenby publishing a much read and commented upon piece in The Fifth Estate decrying the destruction of the rail link into Newcastle CBD.

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