On Sunday, after almost three months of uncertainty, the Minister for Transport, John Robertson, and the Deputy Premier, Carmel Tebbutt, told the residents of Leamington Avenue in Newtown that their historic homes, under threat of being demolished, were safe.


Up to 35 houses in Leamington Avenue were threatened by a plan to build a ''dive'' for a City Relief Tunnel between Eveleigh and Wynyard for trains entering the CBD on a proposed express line from western Sydney.

A spokesman for REDWatch, Geoff Turnbull, who supported the Leamington Avenue residents, is worried the new proposal for the tunnel could intrude on a landmark.

The heritage-listed Carriage Works and nearby Paint Shop at North Eveleigh were once the heart of the state's train-building industry, and are now major performance and arts venues.

''We need clarification as soon as possible on the impact that this decision will have on the North Eveleigh site,'' Mr Turnbull told the Herald.

REDWatch was also worried about the fate of two parcels of land next to the Carriage Works, he said. Under the Redfern Waterloo Authority's concept plan, these parcels of state-owned land are to be sold for private development to help meet job and population targets in the government's metropolitan strategy.

While the community is happy for the government to sell the land, it would prefer the government accept an offer from the University of Sydney. In a recent letter to the Premier, Kristina Keneally, the president of REDWatch, Trevor Davies, wrote: ''At two recent meetings between Sydney University and the local community it was clear there is considerable support for the purchase of the North Eveleigh site by the university in preference to other possible buyers.''

The vice-chancellor of the university, Professor Michael Spence, wants to build affordable housing for students and visiting academics, and REDWatch believes such a development would lead to fewer traffic and congestion problems.

The government did not respond to questions about the effect of the tunnel on the Carriage Works and North Eveleigh.

An independent review earlier this year by the state's former rail and roads boss Ron Christie recommended the City Relief line be built under Pitt Street, on an alignment that would not affect any residential or historic sites.

Source: www.smh.com.au/nsw/tunnel-vision-now-affects-arts-precinct-20100830-147et.html