It’s not all rosy in Branxton

THINGS are not so rosy for the owners of Branxton Newsagency, David and Susan Smith – they have experienced a 40-50 per cent drop in sales.

Susan Smith said her business had suffered a 40-50 per cent drop in sales.

Although, they acknowledge that thanks to their loyal customers they are managing to stay afloat.

But now the many miners who once travelled through town early in the morning, and late in the afternoon, are bypassing Branxton, they are calling for the main street to be improved to attract visitors.

Mrs Smith says the town has been “forgotten” for a long time andimprovements must be made.

“A lot of money has been spent on studies, surveys and reports,” she says.

“Promises have been made, butnothing has been done.

“We have food outlets but no alfresco dining options, footpaths need levelling and potholes in front of our shop need to be filled.

“We need more facilities and more services – something to get people off the freeway.”

A frustrated Mrs Smith says she would like to see the Cessnock Council apply for Resource for Regions funding to improve the town.

This type of funding is available for regions affected by mining and is how the Singleton Council has been able to upgrade their main street.

A spokesperson from Cessnock Council says they are working on a plan to guide the further development of Branxton.

“The Branxton Sub-Regional Land Use Strategy will be developed by January 2016 and will guide the future development of the Branxtonsub-region, capitalising on theopportunities offered by the Hunter Expressway and Huntlee – aiming to minimise any adverse impactsresulting from future development,” the spokesperson says.

“The aim of the strategy is to respond to future impacts and opportunities in the Branxton area initiated by the opening of the Hunter Expressway and the development of Huntlee.”

The spokesperson says it will also coordinate cross-boundary issues and provide a framework for future

planning decisions across the broader Branxton area within both Singleton and Cessnock local governmentareas.

“We have also just issued approval for Branxton Tidy Towns to complete adollar-for-dollar funded project withus.

“The scope of works includesestablishment of two outdoor dining areas plus minor landscaping.”

The establishment of an RV area at Branxton Oval has also been included in the draft 2015-2016 Operational Plan for council’s consideration.

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