A $1.5 million unit complex in McLachlan Street, labelled an overdeveloped concrete jungle by objectors, has been given the green light by Orange City Council, despite attempts by one councillor to defer a final decision.
The Orange Heritage Group and four individuals called for a heritage-listed weatherboard cottage at the site, earmarked for demolition, to be preserved in their objections to the seven-unit battleaxe complex.
Charlie Everett from the heritage group welcomed a decision by the developer to retain the cottage but was concerned about the impact the development would have on the streetscape.
“It’s not the grand cottages we need to save, it’s all these little ones for the workers of Orange that made it possible for those grand cottages to be built,” he said.
“I don’t think the overall development is a good one.
“The services in town were designed for a certain amount of cottages ... we’re putting more stress on them.”
The development will see three three-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units built in the backyards of three existing homes following the removal of seven sheds and awnings, and six trees.
Mr Everett was concerned about the space allocated to vehicles in the tight block.
“They’re three-bedroom units so there’s going to be children,” he said.
“I can see it’s going to be very dangerous.”
Resident John Spanjer said he was upset the developers were putting too many units on the battleaxe block, suggesting five would have been enough.
“I would’ve liked to see a development that was a little bit nicer ... that’s sustainable,” he said.
“The council is seeing a backlash from lots of ratepayers.
“Everyone’s getting fed up with them approving this sort of development.”
He acknowledged the unit development was part of a wider shift to build small blocks with low-maintenance backyards.
“I can understand why the developer wanted to put in seven units,” he said.
“It’s all about money, not about the neighbourhood or people who live there.”
Councillors Peter Hetherington and Glenn Taylor called for a decision to be deferred at Monday’s sustainable development committee (SDC) meeting to allow further discussion between the applicants, the council and the objectors.
But Cr Jason Hamling led the push to approve the complex, saying the decision would give the applicant’s closure instead of the development dragging on.
Cr Fiona Rossiter agreed, saying she couldn’t see any reasons not to support the development.
Mayor John Davis said similar developments in the area had all been successful and helped create affordable housing options.
The site’s developers did not return the Central Western Daily’s request for comment.