BRAND Orange and the Orange Business Chamber’s concerns about a potential glut of hotel rooms have attracted a sharp response from Orange City Council.
On Tuesday the council announced two development applications had been lodged for four-storey hotels at the Mid-City Motor Lodge site in Lords Place and the former Central Western Daily site Kite Street, which has been earmarked as a Quest Apartment Hotel.
Brand Orange executive officer Rhonda Sear and the chamber president Mark Madigan both voiced their support for Orange’s growth and the confidence shown by the developers, but also outlined their concerns about Orange’s 64 per cent occupancy rate and whether existing operators could be affected.
However, Orange mayor John Davis said it was disappointing the two groups had taken a protectionist stance.
“These DAs need to stack up but a knee-jerk reaction from the chamber and Brand Orange that would hinder growth is puzzling to say the least,” he said.
Planning and development committee chair and councillor Russell Turner said suggestions by the two to stagger the developments or require the applicants to put together a marketing plan was naive.
“Doing what they suggest would actually breach national competition policy,” he said.
“Council can only assess development applications on their merits and competition is rightly not one of those.”
Mr Madigan said he acknowledged the council could not knock back a development based on competition and the chamber’s primary focus was to support existing businesses and welcome new businesses to the region.
“It is the view of the chamber to ensure strategies are in place and collaboration is occurring between Orange City Council, the Orange Business Chamber, Brand Orange, other relevant organisations and developers, to ensure existing businesses in any sector remain sustainable and any new businesses are supported in developing their businesses,” he said.
“There appears to have been a major misinterpretation of my comments as not once had I ever said these developments should not be approved.”
Mr Madigan said it was imperative all organisations worked together.
Meanwhile, Quest Apartment Hotels has declined to comment on the DA.
Orange City Centre had been a mooted location for Quest, however no agreement has been reached with an accommodation operator.