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Councillors were told Lords Place could be undone, but no funds were built into original budget

October 2, 2023

By Peter Holmes

When Orange City councillors voted in October 2022 to endorse the $1.4 million Lords Place redevelopment, they did so believing that if the experiment didn't work, it could be reversed after a trial period.

However Orange City Council (OCC) has told The Orange News Examiner that no money was put aside within the original budget to undo the project if required.

It said that if councillors vote on Tuesday night (October 3, 2023) to revert the street to how it was in September 2022 before works began, money would have to be taken from the city's Future City fund.

This would mean a considerable blowout on the original budget, which was already $180,000 over budget the last time councillors enquired.

"The Lords Place upgrade is designed to trial new approaches in inner city areas," OCC said.

"The current budget has funds available for Future City projects."

It said any costs associated with removal would need to be approved by councillors and would come from the Future City fund.

"If removal is supported the costs will need to be determined when works are fully defined."

The $1.4 million came from the state government ($500,000) and Orange City Council ($900,000). The overall budget has since risen to $1.58 million, meaning OCC's contribution is $1.08 million.

Tuesday's meeting is expected to be hectic, with Lords Place shop owners said to be wanting to have their say.

Some councillors are in favour of painting the huge plastic pots. Some want the whole thing ripped up. Some want to wait for summer. And some want to form a working group.

It is also expected that a petition signed by almost every business on Lords Place calling for an independent review into the Lords Place makeover will be debated. The petition was organised by Orange Residents and Ratepayers Association.



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