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Hunter streets set to undergo transformation


Maitland City, Port Stephens and City of Newcastle councils were among the big winners in the latest round of the $20 million Streets as Shared Spaces program.

The three organisations will receive a total of $1.497 million to brighten their respective communities.

Maitland City is set to pocket $500,000 for its Maitlanes initiative to unlock public space in seven laneways in the CBD, while City of Newcastle secured likewise to spend on a Darby Street trial of a 30km/hr zone and streetscape activations.

Port Stephens also procured $497,516 from the NSW Government.

That money will fund its William Street Urban Park project to transform a currently inaccessible space into a new public area capable of hosting small events.

Streets as Shared Spaces capitalises on opportunities created by the pandemic with 70% of people in a recent poll saying they were connecting with others in public spaces instead of at home.

So, the program delivers financial assistance for councils to test and pilot new and innovative ideas that temporarily adapt streets as safe, shared public spaces to support healthier and resilient communities.

“These three exciting ventures will beautify their respective areas by providing more public space for the community to sit, relax and catch up with friends, admire new art installations, or even dine al fresco in their revitalised surrounds,” Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin said.

“If the pilot projects gain widespread community support, we’ll look to make them permanent so more residents and visitors can enjoy the outdoors and connect with those around them.”

Maitland City mayor Philip Penfold was delighted by the latest announcement.

“This (Streets as Shared Spaces) program was hugely-successful when it was run in Morpeth, with a lot of positive feedback from businesses and visitors alike,” he said.

“The funding presents us with a great opportunity to make the most of underused public space in central Maitland.

“So, we’re looking forward to the positive impacts ‘Maitlanes’ will bring for the community, local businesses and visitors to the City.”

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