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Lords Place redevelopment has the backing of the community: council staff

October 15, 2022

By David Fitzsimons

The best times to get a weekday car park in the centre of Orange are at 11am and after 2pm.

A city council staff survey conducted from a pop-up shop in Lords Place south over eight days has found there were only five vacant car spaces in the area at 10am and 1pm – but there were 13 at 11am and 18 at 2pm. By 4pm there were 22 spots to choose from.

The car park count is part of a detailed report recommending Orange councillors next

Tuesday night approve the controversial Lords Place south redevelopment plan that would make the area more pedestrian-friendly and add dining booths, but cut car spaces.

“It shows that while there are some tighter times, it is rare there is no available parking,” the report found.

Opponents to the plan have railed against the loss of parking for shoppers and workers in the wide city street.

However, now that the plans have been on public exhibition and the results compiled, it shows there is public support for the plan, council said.

Councillors have been recommended to approve the draft plan and a parking report.

They will also be asked to back plans for staff to engage with Lords Place south businesses to minimise impacts during the construction phase and review the changes after 18 months.

During the exhibition period there were 2,700 visitors to the council’s YourSay site, which allowed people to give their opinion on the changes.

A staff assessment of the comments lodged said it showed 53.1 percent backed the changes while 46.9 percent opposed it.

While it’s hardly a landslide, the staff report said other factors including the pop-up shop manned by staff, online engagement, a community forum, discussions with affected businesspeople and other means all found support for the project.

“There was positive feedback for initiatives that support walkability and pedestrian safety and switching the focus from cars to people,” it said.

“The plans for new and additional trees were also popular and support for outdoor dining and street furniture exceeded opposition. Improved lighting was also supported.

Businesses on Lords Place. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

”This support fell when parking space reductions were considered as a standalone question.

“However, when options to address the shortfall, such as shorter time limits, were put forward it was supported by more than 60 per cent of respondents.”

The plans will include the reintroduction of a $3 a day fee for the Ophir car park.

The staff report also showed how a noisy minority can make their voices heard.

It found there were 80 comments, mostly negative, to the plans on the council’s Facebook page – but when they were examined they were made by only about 30 people.

Council has $1.4 million to spend on the project, including a $500,000 state government grant.

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