Cessnock City Council accepts NSW Government's offer to build new access to correctional centre at Nulkaba

ACCESS: The current entrance to Cessnock Correctional Centre, off Lindsay Street.
ACCESS: The current entrance to Cessnock Correctional Centre, off Lindsay Street.

The Lindsay Street entrance to Cessnock Correctional Centre will be closed and a new access road to the jail will be built at Nulkaba.

Cessnock City Council voted on Wednesday to accept the NSW Government's offer to build the new access road via Kerlew and Occident streets.

The project will include upgrading the road pavement on Occident Street to the Kerlew Street intersection, fencing on the neighbouring properties, drainage, lighting, a signage wall and emergency gates, and updated wayfinding signage.

The government's offer does not include the reconstruction of Kerlew Street, intersection works at Wine Country Drive, or traffic calming, signage or road closures in Nulkaba.

Instead these works will be left to the council, which has vowed to work with the Nulkaba community on the design of the project.

The meeting on Wednesday was called after corrections minister Anthony Roberts wrote to the council to retable a previous offer to construct the new entry at Nulkaba, which he had withdrawn in March after council requested the government commit to a suite of security and safety measures on behalf of the Nulkaba residents.

The council unanimously backed the recommendation to support the government's offer, and a mayoral minute which asked the general manager to consult with the Nulkaba residents about the design process for the Kerlew Street and Occident Street intersection, and that this consultation include traffic calming, signage and road closures and the isolation of the traffic network in Nulkaba.

"We understand the anxieties Nulkaba residents have about the increase in traffic and change to traffic flows," Mayor Bob Pynsent said.

"Council's infrastructure team will consult with residents about the design so we can take into account their concerns and work to alleviate them in our scope of works."

NEW ROUTE: The new road to Cessnock Correctional Centre will be built on this section of Occident Street, Nulkaba.

NEW ROUTE: The new road to Cessnock Correctional Centre will be built on this section of Occident Street, Nulkaba.

Green Option Access residents' group spokesperson Craig Findley said the community welcomes and looks forward to the consultation.

"We are happy with the mayor and councillors' approach," he said.

"It's very good assurance that the right thing will be done.

"Nulkaba residents do support it being moved from Lindsay Street, and while we would like to have seen it on state land, we know that's never going to happen in the short to medium term at least."

Mr Findley said it was a "disgrace" that the Nulkaba residents had to ask the ratepayers of Cessnock to fund these measures, but - financial impost aside - at least the council would have control over the design.

Council has been calling for the closure of the Lindsay Street entrance since 2016, when the NSW Government announced the plans to add an extra 1800 beds to the correctional complex - more than doubling its size.

The expansion brought a massive increase in traffic to Lindsay Street and the surrounding area.

Mavis Street resident John Sharples said he was very pleased to hear a new entrance will be built.

"That's great news, even if we have to wait a while, there's light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

COMMITMENT: Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent, Cessnock City Council general manager Lotta Jackson and Lindsay Street resident Geoff Walker.

COMMITMENT: Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent, Cessnock City Council general manager Lotta Jackson and Lindsay Street resident Geoff Walker.

Cr Pynsent said he is certainly glad to see the Lindsay Street entrance closed.

"From the very beginning we made a commitment to our community to advocate for an outcome that would see Lindsay Street closed," he said.

"We certainly welcome the closure of this entrance.

"We'll now work collaboratively with Correctives Services NSW as we progress works to see the establishment of the new access road.

"We have listened and will continue to listen to our residents throughout the duration of this project."

Council would like to acknowledge the work of Member for Cessnock, Clayton Barr and recognise his assistance in finding a solution.

Council will now respond to the correspondence from the minister to officially accept the offer.

Watch the meeting via the Facebook stream below.

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