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Councillors pitch new solution for Lords Place - a working group

September 27, 2023

Memories ... Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes

Orange deputy mayor Gerald Power and three Orange City councillors - Melanie McDonell, Jack Evans and David Mallard - will attempt to derail plans to rip up the Lords Place south makeover at Tuesday night's council meeting.

As councillors Kevin Duffy, Glenn Floyd and Jeff Whitton push for the $1.58 million project to be abandoned, and for Lords Place south to be returned to as close to its original design as possible, the foursome will pitch the concept of creating a working group.

The working group would include councillors and businesses.

A media statement released by the working group proponents said: "Feedback from businesses along Lords Place south has raised several concerns since the project began, substantially that business owners felt that councillors were not aware of their concerns and questions."

Mallard said "the overall concept and idea is still sound" but that "there have been issues raised with aesthetics and how the space operates”.

The working group - if successful - would "result in business owners concerns being addressed and remedied where possible, reduce or eliminate sources of conflict around the Lords Place South development amongst the business community and provide a space which the city as a whole will be proud of and actively engage with long into the future."

Evans said that the "majority of people I speak to say ‘we see what you're trying to do and we like the idea, but there are several aspects that are not working’, and that's what we are hoping to address".

"Reverting the street back to the layout of the '90s with scaffolding and bulldozers is not the answer," Evans said.

The statement said: "This Working Group will provide a forum for business owners to share their experiences thus far with Councillors and Urban Design Experts as well as working together to address any current issues still being experienced, whilst still striving to meet the original intent behind the redesign."

McDonell said: "One of the main concerns raised has been the lack of consultation between business owners and council.

"While councillors received some submissions and concerns through forums and reports, they were not directly involved in the consultations process, which is what we now aim to rectify, with a mind to put at ease the concerns of the Lords Place businesses.”

The statement addressed a petition from Orange Residents and Ratepayers Association, which we reported on exclusively recently.

The petition is calling for an independent review into the Lords Place south redevelopment, and has been signed by almost every business on Lords Place south.

The statement said: "[The petition] makes some reasonable requests. While it mentions the option to return the streetscape to its original layout, it does not explicitly say this is what MUST happen".

In comments seemingly directed at the councillors who say the experiment has failed and should be torn up, Power said: “What we don’t want is for people's livelihoods to be used as a political football. The businesses and the community want this resolved now, not in a year's time with scaffolding up the street shutting it off again”.

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