THE controversial Huntlee development near Branxton will compliment, rather than detract from other developments, that are going ahead in our local government area said Singleton Mayor John Martin.
Cr Martin spoke to The Singleton Argus after unveiling a plaque at a low-key ceremony on Tuesday, marking the official commencement of this large scale project.
In the next 25 years an estimated 7,500 dwellings will be built on the site, located at the start of the Hunter Expressway.
For years the project has been mired in controversy first gaining approval by the then Labor state government and then having this twice rejected by the NSW Land and Environment Court.
LWP Property Group is the project manager for the development with its Huntlee Syndicate having a 50 per cent ownership share.
A number of relieved investors and LWP board members were on hand on Tuesday, expressing both their relief and excitement after an eight year battle to get the project approved.
“The good news is that the protracted approval period has enabled us to spend a great deal of time and effort thoroughly master-planning Huntlee. Exhaustive work has already been undertaken to ensure it is a fully considered community with a focus on education, employment and recreation opportunities for its residents,” LWP managing director, Danny Murphy, said.
“It has also tied in nicely with the completion of the Hunter Expressway. I am relieved and excited as we can now deliver our plans. The spill-on effects of the development will benefit communities like Singleton.”
Mr Murphy said Huntlee represents a total investment of $1.5billion and will generate 3,000 permanent jobs and many more during the construction phase.
“We will need to draw on the pool of local skilled workers in Singleton and Cessnock during the construction phase of the project,” he said.
“Today marks the beginning of a long and very bright future for Huntlee and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who’s supported us on this journey to deliver an outstanding new town in the heart of the Hunter Valley.”
Singleton Mayor John Martin said although it is a massive project only a third of the development is located in the Singleton Local Government Area (SLGA) and this area is associated with the later stages of the project.
Cr Martin said in the short-term he can’t see it have a huge impact on Singleton.
“There is no doubt the development will service people working in both the Upper and Lower Hunter,” he said.
“However Singleton is a progressive town well placed for the future with plenty of land on the market. I am feeling very positive about the many new developments on the table like Settler’s Rise at Gowrie and the completion of the Hunter Freeway.”
Cr Martin said the expressway should be finished in Mid-march and the council is looking forward to enjoying the benefits of its construction.