BY LAUREN FREEMANTLE
Hunter street business owners struggling through light rail construction are calling for a lane running behind 24 buildings on the strip to be widened.
They hope the expansion of Civic Lane will allow for parking and greater accessibility in the wake of the University of Newcastle's Honeysuckle redevelopment.
It comes as Newcastle City Council assesses a Hunter Development Corporation proposal to subdivide part of the former rail corridor neighbouring Wright Lane to make way for the new city campus and affordable housing.
HDC want to see Civic Lane widened by one metre, however, the Newcastle Hunter Urban Planning and Transport Alliance are pushing for a much larger, 10-metre expansion.
Businessman Steve Dick has moved his real estate firm from Hunter Street to Cooks Hill and says businesses in the CBD are currently operating at a major disadvantage.
"They've taken away all the parking on Hunter Street in front of these businesses," he explained.
"You've got a three-metre carriageway for cars against a curb and gutter where the vehicles are travelling 40 km/h, and then and tram line so there's no stopping...
"Where are you going to get your goods and services in? Whether you're an office who needs reams of paper or you're a bottle shop that needs liquor supplies," he questioned.
Mr Dick said he is a supporter of the University's redevelopment but is worried about the way it's being mapped out.
"People just don't understand the level of suffering that's going on and the number of people who are going broke down Hunter Street," he said.
"[Newcastle City Council] come out and say 'we want to give some rate assistance'...yeah but having the tenant there is one thing, but if the tenant's not paying rent, the landlord can't pay the mortgage," he concluded.