The campaign to save The Cambridge has begun, with community members and government officials calling on the developer to reconsider the location of its multi-million dollar student hub.
State Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp, Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon, and City of Newcastle councillor, Carol Duncan, met with Newcastle Live Music Taskforce members on May 6 to launch the Save The Cambridge campaign and petition.
In March this year, property developer, Linkcity, announced its plan to build a $110 million student accommodation development on the live music venue site.
Following the approval of a development application by City of Newcastle and the Hunter Joint Regional Planning Panel, The Cambridge would stop trading in June 2023, and construction would start the following month.
Crakanthorp said The Cambridge was a Newcastle icon, and the community would not stop fighting to keep it open.
“From big Aussie names like Sarah Blasko, The Whitlams and You Am I to international acts like Blink-182, NOFX and Anberlin—the Cambo is not just a Newcastle institution, it’s a national one,” Crakanthorp said.
“You talk to any band in Australia; they know The Cambridge – that’s why this will get huge support, and we will just keep fighting.
“This is our plea to keep The Cambridge alive.”
The change.org petition, which has already hit its goal of 5000 signatures, was started by Newcastle resident, Belle Taylor, in collaboration with the Newcastle Live Music Taskforce.
Taylor said Newcastle could not afford to lose another live music venue.
“If the development goes ahead, we will be on the path of making Newcastle null and void to the Australian music industry and beyond … this will affect local and emerging artists and touring acts coming to Newcastle,” Taylor said.
“There are already limited outlets in the city for larger capacity events and gigs for the arts.
“If Linkcity will not relocate their development, then The Cambridge must be incorporated into the future plan for the site.”
The proposed building would include 19 storeys, 500 rooms, over 1,000sqm of indoor recreation and over 800sqm of outdoor space for students to lounge and socialise.
Linkcity Australia Managing Director, Nicolas Swiderski, said the new development would not have a licensed venue as it did not meet the objectives of providing a safe space for young people.
However, he said the building’s 1940s art deco features would be retained.
“Our goal is to create a safe sanctuary for young people who may be living away from home for the first time,” Swiderski said.
“These students will bring a new vibrancy to the Newcastle CBD, spending money, eating out, and looking for part-time employment.
“It will be a long-term economic lift for the CBD.”
Crakanthorp said the community’s concerns would be taken to the Hunter Joint Regional Planning Panel if the petition failed to persuade Linkcity to reconsider its plans.