Streets ahead: state-wide statistics show north Orange is the place to live

WHEN Bianca and Lee Meldrum outgrew their north Orange home they devised a novel way to ensure they didn’t have to leave the area they loved; they bought the block of land next door and built their next home there.

“We built our first house in 2010 and when we realised we needed a bigger house we just bought the block right next door because we loved the area and loved the street, and didn’t want to move away,” Mrs Meldrum said.

The Meldrums say they love having amenities such as a shopping centre and childcare close at hand, and weren’t surprised to learn north Orange was growing at the fastest rate of any inland area in NSW, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest figures.

During the 2012/2013 financial year the area north of the Northern Distributor Road and bordered by Clergate Road and William Maker Drive grew by 2.6 per cent or 470 people.

Orange councillor Neil Jones said the area exploded because the types of dwellings built were more affordable and subdivisions occurred allowing for higher density housing.

He said the western side of Orange did not experience the same growth because the lot sizes were bigger and catered for a more affluent demographic. 

“There are still hundreds of residential allotments to open up ... it’s still only half developed"

But he said there were lessons council learned from the north Orange development. 

“What is inherent with that level of growth is the problem we now have where there is an excellent neighbourhood shopping centre, but there are not associated community services like a medical centre,” he said. 

“The higher density housing created a problem for residents who were not expecting to see the proliferation of duplex dwellings.”

The south Orange master plan is due to open for public comment soon and Cr Jones said the design had taken into account issues learned from north Orange.

One example was that the duplex dwellings were too far from the shopping centre so that meant more cars on the road. 

OUR SAY: NORTH ORANGE GOING LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE, BUT LESSONS MUST BE APPLIED

Cr Jones said the residents of north Orange tended to be younger, as a result there had been childcare expansions and new centres pop up but soon those children would need to go to school and there is no school in north Orange. 

“There are still hundreds of residential allotments to open up ... it’s still only half developed,” he said. 

The area west of William Maker Drive would not be subject to further subdivisions seen in north Orange and would be considered “environmental living” with larger residential block sizes to avoid the same issues, Cr Jones said. 

He said there would need to be more parks and recreation facilities constructed in north Orange to cater for the expanding population of young families. 

Large growth was also recorded in Bathurst, up by 480 people, east Albury and Goulburn (both up by 290 people), followed by north Tamworth, and east Tamworth, east Wagga Wagga and south Wagga Wagga (all 260).

The largest declines were in Broken Hill (down by 80 people), Karabar (down by 60) in Queanbeyan, and Parkes (down by 50).

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