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Up, up and away: Orange housing development clears final hurdle

May 18, 2023

A computer-generated image from the successful DA. Orange City Council.

By Peter Holmes

The major housing estate at 103 Prince Street has been given the green light by the Western Regional Planning Panel (WRPP), clearing the way for construction to begin.

The 76-residence development is to be built on the western side of the former Orange Base Hospital by Dubbo-based MAAS Group, which has a number of projects on the go in Orange.

Earlier development applications had been rejected by Orange City Council due to concerns over designs and trees. Council must first approve such developments, but due to its scale, it also needed the WRPP's endorsement.

The Orange News Examiner reported on October 29, 2022 that council, which owns the land on which the properties would be built, sought an independent assessment of the second DA from Andrew Crump Town Planning.

The report said the major apartment building needed to be moved back from Prince Street as it was 2.6 metres too close to the road.

It also called for an internal driveway to be included, and that planned access from Sale Street, which would require tree removal, be refused.

The report recommended the DA be refused as “the bulk and scale of the residential flat building, with specific reference to the south and west elevations, along with the architectural detailing within the same elevations, combines to present an unsatisfactory design outcome within the street and adversely impacts upon the heritage setting".

Maas Properties development manager Nick Whitton told The Orange News Examiner in March that the company had removed three apartments and one townhouse from its designs in order to meet council requirements.

He said the latest designs had left some properties with a little less space, and some with more. This meant Maas had to contact every owner to explain the changes and ensure they wanted to proceed with their contract.

On May 4, 2023, we reported that Orange City Council would send a “favourable” report to the WRPP.

Following the WRPP's approval, Orange mayor Jason Hamling said in a statement issued by council: "Orange is a growing regional city and this building breaks new ground for medium-rise apartment living.

"As a city we need to be growing up and as well as out, and I’m hoping this project will pioneer a new approach for other developers to follow.”

Computer generated image of a communal area from an earlier DA. Orange City Council.

The complex includes 16 two-storey townhouses on Dalton Street and a six-storey building,

containing 60 apartments, on Prince Street.

The project includes a 2,400-square-metre public park in the centre of the block which will be built by the developer and then handed over to Orange City Council.

Orange City Council Planning and Development Committee chair councillor Jeff Whitton (no relation to Nick Whitton) said in the statement: “Apartment living is already very popular in many regional cities but it’s always a challenge for a local developer to be the first.

"Rather than simply sell off the vacant land to a developer after the hospital was demolished, Orange City Council has put the work in to give the site its own specific Development Control Plan.

An image of what the inside of a townhouse may look like.

"It was that DCP which let developers try something new with five or six storeys, flanked by open parkland.”



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