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Lords Place makeover on a wing and a prayer until parking addressed

August 16, 2022

By David Fitzsimons

Orange’s "elephant in the room", a shortage of car parking spaces, has led to controversial plans to re-shape a key CBD thoroughfare as an outdoor dining/pedestrian area be put on hold.

A staff report to Orange City Council had proposed the plans for redeveloping Lords Place between Summer and Kite streets, that would have removed 23 car parking spaces, go on public exhibition.

However, the council on Tuesday night voted to defer the public exhibition until further reports on parking and traffic flows were presented.

Long-time councillors Jeff Whitton and Kevin Duffy said parking had been the “elephant in the room” in the CBD for many years.

Council was told the extra reports could be ready as early as its next meeting in three weeks.

Lords Place. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

However, it was also told government funding for the project had a time frame it needed to be aware of to ensure it did not risk losing the money.

Council was told it needed to start spending the funding before Christmas and have the money expended by early next year.

The state government is providing $500,000 as part of its Streets as Shared Spaces program.

The state election is due on March 25.

Councillor Frances Kinghorne said more information was needed before the issue could seek public comment.

“I think that the parking situation, and probably the traffic situation, should be reported before it goes on exhibition,” she said. "If I’m driving I don’t care about visual amenity, I just want to get where I’m going as [efficiently] as possible.

“I’m quite aware of how important parking is to businesses.”

The plans include dining booths and extra trees on the street instead of parking places.

Council was also told the dining booths could be removed after 12 months, and returned to parking places, if they proved unpopular.

It was told structural changes needed to be made to the streets to support a previous council decision in favour of a 40km/h speed limit in the CBD.

The Orange News Examiner reported last week on discontent among some business owners over the proposed loss of more than a third of the parking spots.

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