'The businesses will be able to showcase the best of what Orange can produce': Smith

FARMERS MARKET VISION: Totally Local's Graham Smith says an expansion at the Mitchell Highway site will showcase the best of Orange's produce. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI
FARMERS MARKET VISION: Totally Local's Graham Smith says an expansion at the Mitchell Highway site will showcase the best of Orange's produce. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI

UPMARKET cabin accommodation, a 150-seat conference facility and 10 specialty shops could be on the way for one of Orange’s premier tourist attractions. 

Totally Local, located at 426 Mitchell Highway, which is currently home to Robar Distributions, The Agrestic Grocer, the Second Mouse Cheese Factory and Badlands Brewery, has applied to Orange City Council to add food and drink premises, agricultural produce industries, light industry, shops, a function centre, and accommodation uses to the large lot residential zoning to allow the extra facilities.

Councillors approved the planning proposal to go to the NSW Department of Planning after a report said the flow-on benefits to the economy was likely to be “somewhat greater” than a conventional retail centre.

Applicant Graham Smith said the idea was to create hub highlighting food grown or produced in the region and arts and crafts.

CONCEPT: The site plan includes additional shops and conference facilities in blue, two additional car parks to the north and rear and cabins to the east.

CONCEPT: The site plan includes additional shops and conference facilities in blue, two additional car parks to the north and rear and cabins to the east.

“The businesses will be able to showcase the best of what Orange can produce in one spot in a farmers markets theme,” he said.

“We’ve ticked the box at stage one and we’re getting close to the point where we can go ahead and do comprehensive plans.”

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The light industry use could include smallgoods manufacturers, a commercial bakery and expansion for the brewery.

The agricultural produce use could pave the way for juice, vinegar and cider production. 

The light industrial use would also allow the cheese factory to expand.

Parking spaces would be increased from 36 to 135.

Mr Smith said he had been involved in the site since it was an orchard and apple packing shed and within six months of starting the distribution business and fruit shop in 2008, suppliers grew from 30 to 120.

“It was all happening a little too quickly and we set about gradually building towards what we’re about to do,” he said.

With extra floor space kept to a minimum, the proposal contended it would not compete with Orange’s CBD.

During discussions, councillor Reg Kidd expressed concerns traffic pressures should be considered carefully given the site’s proximity to Orange Anglican Grammar School and a proposed childcare centre off Turner Crescent. 

The proposal conceded there would be additional traffic, however Mr Smith believed there would be minimal impact. 

“The trucking business will relocate so from that point of view, that will take a lot of the traffic away,” he said.

Mr Smith hoped work could start by the end of the year if the applications process ran smoothly.