ORANGE City Council has given the green light to a new double garage at the front of a heritage listed home in March Street, despite being locked in a court battle over a similar development approved in Kite Street last year.
Councillors defied planning staff recommendations for refusal, instead deciding to okay the new garage, deck, master bedroom, corrugated iron roof, brick rendering and internal renovations at Monday’s sustainable development committee (SDC) meeting.
Mayor John Davis said the 1940s era home was one of the more modern homes in the March Street heritage conservation area.
“If they upgraded the current house it would certainly be more sympathetic,” he said.
“[The owners] live in the street, they like the street, they wouldn’t dare make it so it was a less attractive house.”
A council planner’s report said the development should be refused as the proposed double garage in front of the existing home would have “a major detrimental impact upon the streetscape and heritage significance of the locality”.
The garage failed to comply with the council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2011, LEP 2000 or Development Control Plan (DCP).
But Cr Davis was one of eight councillors who voted to approve the development, saying it was “frightening” when council could “hide behind streetscape”.
Nearby residents Bob and Val Craig said they were surprised and disappointed the council had approved the development, which they say will spoil the whole street.
“The visual impact is going to be too big,” Mrs Craig said.
“It’s going to be massive and out of proportion to the aesthetics of the surrounding houses.”
The only councillor to vote against the development, Cr Neil Jones, attempted to have the decision deferred for a redesign and heritage impact study.
“This particular street is the most important streetscape in Orange,” he said.
“Some are state listed [heritage properties] ... the intent of the heritage area is to maintain the integrity.”
According to the staff report “moderate alterations” could have seen the new garage comply with planning conditions.
“If this council is not happy with those conditions [in the LEP and DCP] they shouldn’t have endorsed them,” Cr Jones said.
“We saw what happened at 48 Kite Street and now we’re faced with the same situation.
“We’re compromising the DCP all the time.”
But Cr Peter Hetherington said the 1940s cottage was out of context with the rest of the street, with renovated homes already impacting on the integrity of the buildings.
Cr Jones said it was unfair for residents who comply with council regulations when councillors disregard their own policies.
While he did not believe the decision would end up in court, he said he was concerned with the council’s inconsistencies.
The home’s owners could not be reached for comment.