Cessnock City Council removes Varty Park, Weston from rezoning proposal

The home of Weston Junior Football Club will remain in community hands.

Cessnock City Council voted on Wednesday night to remove Varty Park from a draft planning proposal that would have seen the sporting fields reclassified and rezoned as residential land.

Varty Park had been identified as surplus to council's needs, as the junior football club had previously been set to join the senior club at Weston Bears Park, which is poised for a revamp under a masterplan that was adopted by council in May 2020.

However, the junior football club has seen unprecedented growth over the past two years under a new committee. It has outgrown its allocation under the Bears Park masterplan, which only includes one junior field.

The junior club is already using Varty Park's two fields to capacity, and the committee will seek to grow its membership by a further 50 to 60 per cent over the next two years.

Labor councillors Jay Suvaal and Anne Sander tabled a notice of motion at Wednesday's meeting to have Varty Park excluded from the planning proposal, which was supported unanimously.

Weston Junior Football Club president Samantha Tama said it was an amazing outcome for the club.

"As a club this now gives us the security for the community to begin to really plan ahead, ensure our club offers programs to cater for everyone and really invest in the game of football," she said.

"We are excited for the future and grateful to the likes of Jay (Suvaal) and Anne (Sander) who took the time to really understand the needs of the club, meet with the local community and ensure the grounds remained community land going forward."

A report on a meeting between council representatives and the junior and senior football clubs was noted, and report will come back to council on funding options for the implementation of the Weston Bears Park masterplan, which was to be funded by the sale of Varty Park.