MEDIA RELEASE - NSW GOVERNMENT’S DISREGARD FOR MOREPTH HERITAGE
Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison today joined with concerned local residents representing local business and community groups to call on the NSW Government to restore the dilapidated Morpeth Railway Station and give it a new life as a community asset.
Soil Conservation Service within Local Land Services is using part of the building however it has fallen into a state of disrepair and the Morpeth Business Chamber ‘It Must Be Morpeth’ and the Maitland Heritage Conservation Group are keen to see the landmark building restored and used for tourism and heritage promotion activities.
Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison said “The building was restored by the State Government in 1988, but under this Government it has been left to rack and ruin, the state it is in is a disgrace!”
“The NSW Government’s failure to preserve this historic building shows a total disregard for the heritage of Morpeth and the amenity of the local community.”
“The Minister must explain what the government’s future plans are for the site.”
A submission from ‘It Must Be Morpeth’ proposes to lease the premises and convert it into a commercial enterprise that would provide Morpeth with an important tourist attraction and provide additional economic benefits to local businesses.
The local Men’s Shed have also generously offered to undertake the required works so that the building could be used for community purposes such as interpretive centre with a café’, exhibition visitor information centre and other visitor amenities.
“Morpeth relies on tourism and has been significantly impacted by the COVID pandemic. The Business Chamber’s proposal would activate the space for locals and stimulate tourism”, Ms Aitchison said.
The restoration of a new anchor attraction in Morpeth would enhance work already being undertaken by Maitland City Council with state government funding to provide a walkway from Morpeth to Walka Waterworks.
”Restoring this iconic building which speaks to the historical importance of Morpeth to the development of the Hunter would provide a reason for tourists to explore the area and would aid tourism recovery in Maitland and indeed Hunter post COVID.”
2021 is the bicentenary of European settlement in Morpeth and heritage groups want to see the building restored to its former glory.
Ms Aitchison said “the Liberals and Nationals have neglected this important heritage site for over a decade and it should be restored as a matter of priority.”