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UPDATED: Orange councillors reveal what they're thinking ahead of Lords Place vote

September 26, 2022

Lords Place south. Copyright: The Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes

As the period for public comment on proposed changes to Lords Place draws to a close (September 28, 2022), the spotlight will shift to the 12 Orange City councillors who will vote on whether to accept or reject the makeover.

The Orange News Examiner has published several stories on the changes, which would see 23 parking spaces between Summer and Kite streets removed. The reaction from business owners has been mixed.

Council staff have made a pro-change video, which is being promoted via paid advertising on Facebook. In the video two business owners on Lords Place are interviewed about the plan. Both are generally in favour of it.

However two councillors have told The Orange News Examiner they will not support the new design.

"Let me assure you, I'll be voting against it," Kevin Duffy said in an interview earlier this month.

Duffy raised the spectre of establishing large shopping precincts in north and south Orange to counter the increasingly clogged CBD: "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."

Councillor Jeff Whitton said that he had considered the matter, and spoken to council staff and out-of-town consultants involved in developing the concept. He said it "will drive business away, it will cause grief" and for that reason he would vote no.

"The staff are trying to do the right thing, but is it practical?"

The Orange News Examiner asked the remaining 10 councillors on Friday whether they had decided how they would vote. Six had responded by the time of publication on Monday night. [UPDATE: Councillor Frances Kinghorne has since contacted us and her response is included below.]

Tony Mileto

"I am still in the process of assessing all legitimate concerns. At this point of time I have not made a decision either way."

Glenn Floyd

"At first I was against the proposal on the grounds of lost parking, making it difficult for the aged, disabled and disadvantaged to get access to the centre of town.

"The [plan] changes have been positive and the big crux for me is the changes can be reversed over time if the plan does not work.

"I liken the changes to the main street of the Entrance on the NSW Central Coast. One of my favourite locations to holiday and a great street to walk up and down.

"This, with some positive work around the Ophir car park, will be a positive thing for Orange. We have to move forward as a city and these changes are a step in the right direction, so I will be supporting them."

Steve Peterson

"No I haven't made up my mind. Want to discuss with other councillors first."

Tammy Greenhalgh
"I really want parking to be improved, so I’m in two minds at the moment."

Gerald Power - deputy mayor

"We have another debrief meeting coming up after [public comment] closes. I will wait for the that information to be disclosed before commenting."

Mel McDonell

"At this stage I’m happy to support it given it is for a trial period of 12 months. It’s not a permanent change, set in stone.

"However, I have not completely locked in my vote for or against, as to do so is not in keeping with the Code of Meeting Practice.

"We, as councillors, are expected to take all information into account when deciding and voting and we do not know what information may be presented to council on the night. To set our minds to one decision or the other prior to formal voting would not be appropriate."

Frances Kinghorne

"I haven’t made up my mind yet. I would prefer to wait until the community consultation process is completed.

"I do still have concerns about the parking impacts on Lords Place businesses. I do, however, think that the idea of a more attractive, walkable space is a good one. We need to make sure we have the balance right."

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