THE Bathurst Catholic Diocese has not ruled out building a school in north Orange despite plans to turn part of its block of land into housing.
The block on William Maker Drive adjacent to Emmaville Street is owned by the St Mary’s and St Joseph’s parish in Orange.
Council approved an 85-lot subdivision for the northern half of the land in May last year.
Orange councillor Neil Jones said he had concerns the children of north Orange were being denied a public education and that the private sector was being forced to take up the slack.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, north Orange (the area north of Dalton Street) was the fastest growing inland area in NSW.
With three childcare centres recently built there, something must be done to provide for the children’s future, according to Cr Jones.
“I don’t believe that any government or institution is going to embark on a school project,” he said.
“Is it an expectation that these students should travel a distance to school because they can’t walk or ride over the northern distributor?”
Catholic Diocese of Bathurst financial administrator Patrick Cooper said the church had not changed its plans for a school in north Orange.
The southern half of the block has no development applications before Orange City Council.
“It was always purchased to provide for a possible school,” Mr Cooper said.
A spokesman for the Department of Education and Communities said the department had no plan to build another school in Orange.
“While Bletchington, Calare and Orange East primary schools are presently closer to their current capacity than other Orange schools, if the number of school-aged children in their area continued to grow, the Department of Education and Communities has scope to address growth, including demountable accommodation and providing additional permanent facilities,” he said.