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Councillor won't be swayed by the public on Lords Place. He's made up his mind and it's a big fat NO

September 12, 2022


Lords Place was packed on Monday morning. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes and David Fitzsimons


"Let me assure you, I'll be voting against it."


Even though they are currently open for public comment, councillor Kevin Duffy has already made up his mind on Orange City Council staff's proposed changes to Lords Place in the CBD.


And he's raised the possibility of developing larger shopping precincts in north and south Orange is council doesn't address city parking.


Among a raft of alterations in the council staff's plan would be the loss of 23 parking spots on Lords Place, all part of an attempt to beautify the street and offer more outdoor seating. Some trees would be removed, and others planted.


The plans are currently on display for public comment, but Duffy is not waiting around.

The Orange News Examiner reported on August 12 on the firm views held by some of the business owners on Lords Place.



The man behind Alfio’s Pizzeria, Salvo Sciuto, said any removal of parking spots would only work if the Ophir car park on the corner of Kite Street and Lords Place was made into a multi-storey facility first.


He also said that line-of-sight issues with new trees and the narrowed road thoroughfare would make it less safe for drivers and pedestrians.


In that story veteran Orange real estate agent Gary Blowes was blunt in his assessment of the proposed changes.

“I don’t think it’s been thought through well at all,” he said. “It won’t affect my business in the slightest, but it will affect others dramatically.”



Rendition of the new Lords Place.

Business and property owners along Lords Place south - including Blowes’ agency on the corner of Lords Place and Kite Street - are deeply divided over the proposed redevelopment of the streetscape, according to council's own research.



The proposed beautification and redesign of Lords Place south would see the number of parking spots drop from 67 to 44, a loss of more than third (34 percent).

The development would be funded by $900,000 from council and a $500,000 state government Shared Spaces Program grant.


The program is for trial projects that test permanent changes that “strengthen the amenity, accessibility and economic vitality of a high street and surrounding area”.


In a report to councillors last month staff stated that “amongst the engagement results to date there are approximately eight stakeholders who do not support the draft concept in any way. There are a similar number that strongly support the concept plan”.



Councillors subsequently sent the plan back to council staff seeking more information.


Under the Future City plan Lords Place south would become more pedestrian friendly with on-street dining decks, new street trees, a 40km/h speed limit and a narrowing of the roadways.

Council was told the loss of 23 spaces in Lords Place could be mitigated by modifying parking arrangements in the street and in neighbouring streets.


Materials.

That includes a “future option” to allow parking in the centre of Lords Place between Kite and Moulder streets.


The councillors voted at last Tuesday night's meeting to support the public exhibition of the updated plan, which said that motorists would have to pay $3 a day to use the Ophir car park.



The updated report also proposed the introduction of free 15-minute and 30-minute short-term parking places on Lords Place between Summer and Kite streets.


And it said Orange residents needed to get over a long-held tradition of expecting to park outside the front of the business they planned to attend.


Duffy raised the spectre of establishing large shopping precincts in north and south Orange to counter the increasingly clogged CBD, a thought that will send shivers down the spines of CBD retailers.

"If we're going to bring in the Lords Place thing we're better off moving out of town and developing south Orange and north Orange so the locals have somewhere to go and shop," Duffy said.



The concept plan will be exhibited for community feedback until September 28.


The council’s YourSay site will also be open for online engagement.


A community forum is on at 6pm on Wednesday (September 14, 2022) in the Civic Centre.



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