Lake Macquarie council calls for community help establishing heritage master plan for West Wallsend

Carrington Street circa 1920.Before Lake Macquarie City Council begins work revitalising West Wallsend, it wantscommunity help to develop a master plan that focuses onthe town’s historic characteristics.
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The council is calling forpublic feedback through its Shape Lake Mac website to develop ideas of what needs to be protected and what can be enhanced and there will be a one-hour community workshop atHolmesville Community Hall from 5.30pm on November 7.

In a statement on Thursday, council called West Wallsend one of Lake Macquarie’s most historically significant suburbs and pointed to its past as a booming town with a population of 6000 and four operationalminesat its peak in the early 1900s.

The master plan will look at streetscape, pedestrian access, mobility issues and focus on the area around Carrington and Withers streets.It will deal with council land and public spaces–not privately-owned property.

Integrated planning manager Wes Hain said theplan would aim to reinforce West Wallsend’s historic character and revitalise the suburb’s retail and commercial precinct.

“We want to make sure any revitalisation ofWestWallsendis sympathetic to its important and fascinating history,” hesaid.

Northumberland Hotel circa 1940.

“WestWallsend’s significant historical value is already recognised by its inclusion as a heritage conservation area in our Local Environment Plan, but a master plan will provide a blueprint for us to follow over the next 10-15 years.

“Recent residential and commercial development aroundWestWallsendhave the potential to affect the viability and long-term conservation of the old commercial precinct.But there is a great opportunity here to capitalise onWestWallsend’s rich history and use it to attract investment and business, and to create a vibrant, contemporary retail and commercial precinct.”

Historian Ed Tonks said West Wallsend was a prime example of how mining drove the Hunter’s early expansion, experiencing significant growth in a 15-year period that sparked the introduction of a steam tram system toNewcastle.

Some of the responses posted on the Shape Lake Mac website as of Thursday afternoon pointed to the cemetery, post office, pubs and butterfly cave as beingamong the historic parts of the suburb considered important.

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