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Leamington Ave locals left hanging

Newtown residents living in fear of losing their homes did not get the reassurance they were hoping for at Monday night’s meeting with Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt and Transport NSW reports Aimee Scott in Central on 6 July 2010.

About 120 residents and supporters attended the “Save Leamington Avenue” meeting at Darlington Public school after it was leaked in early June that up to 34 heritage houses were under threat from plans for the City Relief tunnel.

But when Brian Watters, Tranport NSW’s director of major infrastructure, was asked asked if he could conclusively rule out the compulsory acquisition of their homes, he replied: “I can’t guarantee that it will be possible to avoid an impact on private property”.

He said that at a meeting with a small delegation of residents he had resolved to have a decision on the preferred alignment for the tunnel established as quickly as possible, and that there should be an answer within the next couple of months.

Ms Tebbutt said that she was very sympathetic to the anxious residents and that as Member for Marrickville she would advocate to have the threat to homes eliminated.

“I want to see Transport NSW and RailCorp to find a way to deliver this project that won’t affect your houses,” she said to applause.

However, the period of uncertainty has already negatively affected residents, with one owner having to cancel her auction, one having to put renovations on hold and others advised that they are legally required to disclose the plans to prospective purchasers.

Mr Watters said that in his experience, residents are not compensated for losses unless their homes are compulsorily acquired.