IN my opinion the proposed Anson/Sale Street car park concept plan is not suitable for the area it is planned to occupy and reminds me of a proposal put forward many years ago to build a city halfway between Bathurst and Orange by the now defunct Bathurst Orange Development Corporation.
A huge amount of time and many thousands of dollars were poured into a concept that obviously had no chance of ever coming to fruition.
I also believe the proposed design contravenes an agreement entered into between Orange City Council and the minister for local government in relation to a guarantee by council to supply free and unrestricted vehicular access to all the premises from Anson Street up to and including the building now occupied by Best & Less. This access was subsequently increased to cater for two additional properties and the main electrical substation adjacent to Harris Farm Markets.
The agreement also brings into question any thought of the proposed Anson Street pedestrian mall unless council can supply an alternative suitable access for all the property owners mentioned above.
The above restrictions have been ignored in the concept plan and I can only wonder why the planning body and all existing council representatives have not taken notice of the restrictions.
Loading and unloading facilities for Woolworths and the two proposed new commercial outlets has been well catered for but absolutely no provision of such facilities has been extended to the existing top block traders currently accessing the car park.
If this concept was to proceed I was advised the construction timeframe would take almost three years and would cost in excess of $35 million. I have no doubt such a prolonged disruption to the car park would completely destroy the viability of the existing traders.
A major development is well under way on the old Summer Centre site and when complete does Orange really need such an eyesore as a multistorey concept would be? The heritage value of the Cultural Centre has also been ignored.
I am in favour of any viable future Anson/Sale Street car park development that could be achieved with minimum disruption to the existing traders and at a much more realistic total cost.
May I suggest the slope of the car park lends itself to the establishment of an additional underground parking area and, if that was done, a portion of the existing ground are could be developed for a large commercial building with provision for rooftop car parking to add additional car parks and replace and lost parking spaces.
I believe any future car park development plans must adequately cater for all existing traders in order to preserve the viability of these businesses and the central business district.
I also represent the two largest locally-owned landowners that will be affected by any future developments in the car park. These companies own the Orange Arcade shopping complex that has a total ground floor area of 4055 square metres and supplies an all-weather, covered walkway from the existing car park to Summer Street.
There are 32 individual tenants trading in the arcade complex creating employment for 191 people including owners and employees.
I believe the proposed concept plan, in its present form, would seriously damage all existing traders backing onto the car park and could leave council exposed to an expensive legal challenge.
Managing director Orange Arcade Pty Ltd and Merchandising Developments Pty Ltd