Criticisms of Blackheath master plan

Autumn attraction: There is no support for plans to make part of Wentworth Street one-way and have angled parking. Photo: Nick Moir

Autumn attraction: There is no support for plans to make part of Wentworth Street one-way and have angled parking. Photo: Nick Moir

One of the main features of council’s Blackheath master plan – angled parking in a one-way Wentworth Street – has been given a widespread thumbs-down.

Road closed: Artists' impression of a town square in part of the existing car park, with Govetts Leap Road access blocked.

Road closed: Artists' impression of a town square in part of the existing car park, with Govetts Leap Road access blocked.

The Blackheath Alliance – which comprises most of the key bodies in town including the chamber of commerce, neighbourhood centre, RFS, clubs and resident groups – is unanimous in its opposition.

Michael Paag, who is co-ordinating the alliance’s response to the plan, confirmed there was no support at all for the mooted changes to Wentworth Street.

“There is absolute unequivocal rejection of that for a number of reasons relating to the flow of traffic – to the town, to the pool, to the park and to the school,” he said.

There is also opposition to a second major proposal - closing off Govetts Leap Road access to the car park to create a town square.

Petitions against that plan have attracted more than 800 signatures.

Mr Paag said the alliance was compiling a submission that addresses whether the town square would work as suggested.

Some members were worried that if Govetts Leap Road was blocked off, all cars and delivery trucks would have to use the narrow Sutton Lane.

“There is a view that the town square that has been proposed isn’t the best solution and we are working through a revised proposal,” he said.

Rob Conolly, a resident who was so concerned he letter-boxed dozens of homes about the Wentworth Street plans, said he hadn’t met anyone who liked the idea.

“I haven’t spoken to one single person who was anything like in favour of it. Most of them were  horrified by it.”

He said making the street a “giant car park” would destroy a major tourist attraction – it draws hundreds of visitors in autumn because of its vista of liquidambar trees.

The street also provides an alternative route through town in the event of a highway blockage.

Making it one-way would cut off easy access to town for a large percentage of residents who live around Hat Hill Road and potentially force drivers on to a back-street rat run along Dell and Wills streets, both narrow and winding and unsuitable for heavy traffic.

He said there were easier ways to increase parking spots, such as moving all-day parking away from the town centre, expanding timed/restricted parking and encouraging some businesses to utilise space behind their premises.

The alliance believes that the commuter car park should be expanded to free up parking spaces near the station.

Submissions on the plan close on Sunday (July 23). See “have your say” at www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au.

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