A PLANNING expert has told Orange residents to push for diversity in the type of housing that is built and learn from the mistakes made in north Orange.
Bathurst architect Tony McBurney, who is working with Orange City Council on the design of the new south Orange suburb, spoke at Wednesday’s public forum on designing better suburbs and homes for a sustainable future, organised by the Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange (ECCO).
ECCO member and Orange councillor Neil Jones, said Mr McBurney urged Orange not to settle for cookie-cutter housing designs as urban sprawl continued.
“It was an excellent presentation that looked at the social, environmental and economic aspects of urban development,” Cr Jones said.
“He talked about the changing nature of our population, in particular the aging population, and the fact that families are getting smaller, and younger people who are single or in a couple don’t aspire to have a big backyard.
“We need to ensure we cater to the changing demographics.”
Cr Jones said the key to planning Orange’s grow was not to make the same “big mistakes” as north Orange.
“There we’ve got the same sort of housing, all on the same sort of blocks,” he said.
“In the new suburbs, we need to have a balance between low, medium and high-density living.
“If there’s high density housing we need to increase the amount of open spaces to make up for people losing their front and backyards.
“People also need to be in walking distance to a community-based core such as a shopping centre.”
Cr Jones said it was important to consider all the environmental aspects of a housing development such as the orientation of the street to allow for maximum access to sunlight.
“Sometime that’s an area that’s significantly overlooked,” Cr Jones said.
Cr Jones said high-density housing, such as duplexes, should be factored into a suburb’s design to ensure they did not overshadow neighbouring properties.
“I’ve had a couple of residents in north Orange tell me duplexes have ruined their suburb, but that’s only happened because they [planners] hadn’t accommodated medium-density housing into that suburb,” he said.
“Orange has a once-in-a-city’s-lifetime opportunity with south Orange to turn 200 hectares of green fields into a mix of different housing types in an environmentally friendly way.”
Cr Jones said Mr McBurney also discussed using the old Orange Base Hospital site as a high-density housing development.
“We need a diversity of housing styles in Orange because diversity adds to quality of life.”