Cliftleigh is on the cusp of a population boom with 1000 new homes expected within 10 years, possibly sooner.
Urban subdivisions are expected to play a key part in housing the extra 160,000 people forecast to settle the Lower Hunter by 2031.
One hundred new homes have already been built in the new estate Cliftleigh Gardens, but developers expect the construction of Cliftleigh’s first set of traffic lights will allow the development to motor ahead. The estate is part of a housing-boom precinct near the Hunter Expressway that includes Heddon Greta and Gillieston Heights.
“Before we started, a year or 18 months ago Cliftleigh amounted to 20 or 30 homes but once you factor in this development and Averys Village at Heddon Greta there will be quite a change in the area,” Winten Property Group development manager Mark Cerone said.
“The [Main Road] intersection has been a stumbling block to further development of the estate, but once this intersection is built [with traffic lights] it will increase our exposure.”
Kurri Kurri and District Business Chamber president and Cessnock councillor Rod Doherty said this border area between Maitland and Cessnock councils could expect further growth.
He said the western side of Cessnock Road at Gillieston Heights was within the old aluminium smelter buffer zone that was now up for redevelopment.
“There’s no doubt the Hunter Expressway is going to start driving development,” he said.
The Cliftleigh intersection will become a hub at the centre of a much larger village that until now has counted a petrol station as its major landmark.
Work is scheduled to start on the intersection in mid-August and expected to take six months to complete, coinciding with the planned completion of the Hunter Expressway.
Mr Cerone said the Hunter Expressway – which could double the 8000 cars now using Main Road each day – certainly factored into plans for the development.
“It’s one thing to rezone an area for 1000 lots, but there needs to be demand for that land,” Mr Cerone said, pointing to buyers needing employment and services.
“If you were out in the middle of nowhere and there was no infrastructure then there would be little interest in your project.”
The intersection will require nearly 800 metres of road widening to accommodate turning lanes and will involve the relocation of most utilities.
Road work tenders closed two weeks ago and Winten Property Group expected the contracts would be signed within two weeks.
Mr Cerone expects Winten Property Group will have invested $25 million on infrastructure, from a community hall to rising water mains, by the time development is finished.