ONE of Orange’s heritage experts has called amended plans to redevelop the former Myer site as a “rape of the site” and the city’s assets should be protected.
Orange and District Historical Society member Euan Greer submitted an extensive submission on the building’s history when the first development application (DA) was approved in August.
Orange City Centre manager Alceon Group has lodged another DA to keep the Summer Street and Post Office Lane facades, but construct a new building behind.
The work would remove the first and second storeys and lower the height of the basement, affecting the brick archways and forcing the spiral stair to be relocated.
The original approval required 100-square metres of cast iron columns and pressed metal ceilings to remain, while the revised DA intends to salvage 10 columns and pressed metal for the new building.
While Mr Greer believed the original plans were sensitive to the building’s significance, he did not accept comments in the revised DA which said keeping the plan would be too complex and dangerous.
“There are so many buildings that age that have been adapted for reuse,” he said.
“It’s certainly one of the oldest commercial buildings in Summer Street and it displays the changing styles and construction methods – we have nothing else like it.”
While the revised DA said the building was in poorer condition than expected, Mr Greer said misalignment occurred in modern buildings and questioned whether demolition was planned from the beginning.
“What they are proposing is a rape of the site,” he said.
“The basement was hand-dug by James Dalton the younger and sections go back to 1853.
“We’ve lost so many delightful [buildings] over the years and what we have left becomes even more precious.”
Of the 414 people who responded a CWD poll, 68.4 per cent agreed with the updated plans, while 31.6 per cent wanted the heritage building kept.
Orange City Council staff are conducting preliminary assessments on the DA, however the public can view it on request.
Alceon Group declined to comment.