Future of Lands building uncertain

STAFF stationed at the Lands Office on Kite Street will move to the Department of Primary Industries later in the year, but it remains unclear what will become of the heritage site.

A NSW Department of Industry spokeswoman said there were currently 14 staff at the Lands building and cottages, who would relocate to the DPI’s Kite Street office and the Orange Agricultural Institute. 

“Our regional accommodation strategy is to consolidate activities where we have more than one office so we can improve the quality of services, technology and office fit outs,” she said.

It’s such a wonderful building, it would be a shame for it to fall into the wrong hands. - Councillor Neil Jones

“The department plans to maintain its presence in Orange as a regional hub.” 

With no public access to the Lands building other than by appointment, the spokeswoman said reception services would be available at the future offices and appointments could be made as usual. 

But the site’s future use is still up in the air, with a a Property NSW spokeswoman saying no decision had been made.

The news prompted Orange councillor Neil Jones to revive his push for the premises, built in 1885, to be turned over for community use.

“It’s not to say council would buy it, the idea was to hand it over for the community to manage it, but it’s such a wonderful building, it would be a shame for it to fall into the wrong hands,” he said.

“Let the lobbying begin.”

Cr Jones hoped the state government would consult the community on how they wanted it used, but he believed it could be made into an artist hub.

“The cultural centre in the Woolies car park, that has an uncertain future because it’s got building issues and there are question marks for storage for the art gallery and museum, and that’s just from a council point of view,” he said.

“The sky’s the limit really.”

The site was also floated as a possible replacement for the Senior Citizens and Pensioners Centre.

The council first lodged an expression of interest in late 2015 amid concerns about dwindling staff numbers, although it did not have unanimous support.

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