Council Street, Cooks Hill reopens with $6 million overhaul.

City of Newcastle has completed a $6 million upgrade of Council Street with 8,000 new street plants, 18 new trees, additional parking spaces, public art and storm water improvements at the heart of Cooks Hill’s eat-street.
Three Monkeys Cafe owner Anthony Strachan, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Autumn Rooms owner Ben Richardson officially open the Council Street upgrade alongside Project Manager Patrick Burgess and City of Newcastle’s works team.

The project included replacing aged underground drainage with a new storm water drain, almost three metres wide, taking rainwater from the local area to Cottage Creek.

Council Street has regularly experienced severe localised flooding during major storms, as it lies at a critical storm water drainage juncture. The Cottage Creek catchment covers large sections of the city from The Junction and The Hill, as well as Merewether and Hamilton.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the upgrade helps to mitigate storm water flooding in the local area while delivering streetscape improvements and a fun new ‘selfie’ wall mural by local artist Trevor Dickinson.

City of Newcastle has been working with local residents and businesses on this project for years given the historic flooding issues in the area and it’s fantastic to see this major $6 million upgrade complete,” the Lord Mayor said.

The community and local business-owners’ input has been critical in making a range of improvements to the area, including stormwater issues, pedestrian safety, vehicle movements and car parking, while creating an appealing, well-functioning streetscape to support local businesses.”

Improved traffic management flow has also been created by removing the roadblock on Council Street to allow one-way traffic to flow through, enhancing the functionality of the street for motorists, pedestrians and to facilitate more active modes of transport with a cycleway.

The new traffic arrangements will improve safety by discouraging illegal U-turns being made at the Darby Street and Council Street intersection and significantly reduce the street crossing distances for pedestrians while delivering seven additional parking spaces.

Construction of the new drainage was accelerated when COVID-19 led to quieter traffic conditions and restrictions on local businesses. The project team reprogrammed and brought forward the most disruptive works to enable businesses to maximise earning potential when restrictions eased,” the Lord Mayor said.

Trevor Dickinson’s interactive’ selfie’ mural wall wraps up the project, bringing the new space to life by injecting fun with his use of bold use of colour whilst capturing the character and charm of the area. We look forward to seeing the community and visitors interacting and engaging with the ‘selfie’ mural wall on social media and this new public space.

Anthony Strachan, owner of Darby Street business Three Monkeys Cafe said he has already begun to see the benefits of the $6 million project.

The renewal of this area is a great thing for local businesses. The better it looks, the more people who are going to come here.

It’s unreal to see people already enjoying the new street furniture and interacting with the street art.”