Fast track the M1 extension

A proposed massive 300 hectare development at Black Hill, adjacent to the M1 and John Renshaw Drive, will require a fast track of the M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace, according to State member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP.

The Stevens Group and the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle have now put in a Development Application to Cessnock City Council for the new industrial/residential/rural development that will “obviously lead to a significant increase in traffic and truck movements into the area.”

After many years in the pipeline, Cessnock City Council this year gained approval to rezone the land to make way for a Hunter freight hub and industrial precinct which could create hundreds of jobs.

The formerly rural zone will now be available for industrial use after planners gave the green light in April, several years after the change was first mooted.

The Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese property is now earmarked to become a Hunter freight hub under the long-term Lower Hunter Regional Strategy. It was chosen to make the most of its location at the nexus of major highways.

The plan divides roughly 300 hectares between John Renshaw Drive and Black Hill Road into three classifications; two thirds will become industrial and the remainder is divided between rural living and environmental conservation.

Ms Hornery is calling on the State and Federal Governments to fast track the M1 extension to help ease future traffic congestion in the area.

“This is great economic news for the area; a significant development and will deliver jobs to the local area.

“A development of this size is going to lead to a significant increase in traffic in an region that is already impacted by heavy traffic.

“The John Renshaw Drive intersection is being upgraded from a roundabout to traffic lights, which will improve traffic flow, but when this development comes online the increased traffic will have a significant impact.

“The State and Federal Governments must make the M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace a priority.

“The extension will significantly reduce the traffic flowing through to the John Renshaw Drive intersection and improve connectivity between the M1 and the Pacific Highway between the North Coast and Sydney, reduce travel times and delays for motorists and allow better flow for freight.

“The State and Federal Governments must ensure that the appropriate infrastructure is in place before this development comes online,” said ms Hornery.

The Maitland-Newcastle Diocese acquired the land in 2003 to build a school, before changing its plans.

“The diocese has owned this land since 2003 and welcomes this rezoning to allow for future use as an industrial hub, creating many jobs for people of the lower Hunter region,” he said.