Former nursery's development soap opera ends with approval for dog and car wash

WORK could start on a car and dog wash and two restaurants with a drive-through at the former Thomson’s Nursery site in Bathurst Road by the end of the year now Orange City Council has approved the $980,000 development.

The venture will include the only automatic dog wash in Orange and could be home to the first drive-through cafe if negotiations with tenants are successful, the site’s owner Thomson’s Corner director Matt O’Malley said.

“It’s going to be a good thing to clean up the entrance into Orange,” he said.

The drive-through was a sticking point for the proposal with council staff and the traffic committee recommending it be left out of the approval until more details were provided about the traffic flow through the site.

But led by Orange mayor John Davis, councillors unanimously agreed to give the entire development the go-ahead at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Mr O’Malley said the drive-through was a critical part of the development.

“The development would probably be unviable without that component,” he said.

“It makes it a bit special.”

He was confident there was enough demand for another car wash in Orange as this venture will be the only automatic facility and will also feature the first dog wash - a popular service in Bathurst.

When the development was lodged with council last April concerns were raised about its proximity to memorial trees along Bathurst Road.

Several councillors said they were pleased the only tree to be removed to make way for the development was in Eyles Street and hoped the site’s owner would replace it.

Mr O’Malley said the development’s approval had been a long process, but he believed it was a much better design and outcome for the area compared to the shopping centre approved for the site in 2010.

“The previous one [development application] was approved with 30 car parks underground, this one is all above ground which makes it much safer,” he said.

He said the development’s architect Wayne Petrie had spent a lot of time on the sensitive issue of landscape design to present a  much greener site.

Potential noise impacts for neighbours had also been considered all the way through with an acoustic report, Mr O’Malley said.

“It’s on the Bathurst Road, it’s not in a residential area, it’s a commercial area,” he said.

Councillor Jason Hamling welcomed the development and said the corner had become an eyesore.

“For tourists driving through to see a vacant lot there is not good,” he said.

Vehicles will be able to enter and exit onto Eyles Street but the exit on to Bathurst Road will be left turn only.

The businesses have approval to operate from 7am to 10pm, seven days per week.

The noise from the development will be tested within six months of the businesses opening and must not exceed five decibels above background sound.

Council accepted a 1.44 shortfall of parking spaces, with the development offering on site parking for 20 cars.

Only two people raised concerns about the development in written submissions to council as owners of neighbouring homes, but neither were Orange residents.

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