When the Newcastle City heavy rail system was truncated back in December 2014, the historic Newcastle Railway Station (NRS) no longer functioned as a heavy rail station and its repurposing became hot topic among the community.
Some Novocastrians will therefore be pleased that their station will be repurposed into a regional market space and preserved as a part of the NSW Government’s Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy.
The shortening of the Newcastle heavy rail line to terminate at Wickham has left the NRS redundant as a rail station but NSW Planning Minister Pru Goward says the station is worth preserving as a landmark for the city and that the Newcastle public liked the idea of a “Melbourne-like” fresh food market.
Now and the future? The Newcastle Railway Station will be repurposed into a fresh produce market. Images: ABC and Planning NSW
"Novocastrians told us they wanted a marketplace," she told the ABC.
"This is a heritage building - you can see the potential when you look at cities like Melbourne, and we think that's what Novocastrians deserve.
"Newcastle after all is New South Wales' second city, and to turn a wonderful old building into a fresh food market centre is a very fitting contribution."
The decision to truncate the heavy rail is still subject to protests and community backlash however the NSW Government is adamant that the new light rail, also a part of the Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy and planned to begin December 2015, will better service the city.
The Property Council's Hunter region CEO Andrew Fletcher said the development would be a good step in the revitalisation of Newcastle.
"Oh look, it's only one piece of the jigsaw," he said.
"It looks like a fantastic reuse of the heritage railway station.
"There's been some really good projects done around the east end lately - some apartment buildings, The Lucky Country Hotel as well on Hunter Street.
"The alternative is that we end up with something like the post office, where we have these amazing heritage buildings sitting there as a crumbling eyesore.
"I don't think anyone wants that for Newcastle."
The plan for the station will be open for public comment by the middle of the year.