OUR SAY: Locals go to battle over Byng Street Local Store development

The battle between preservation and progress looks to be heating up again as residents and business owners disagree about plans to expand Byng Street Local Store.

Many of the key players in this latest debate are seasoned campaigners who worked long and hard to halt the progress of the Byng Street boutique hotel development.

Of course it was a battle they ultimately lost, however not before successfully campaigning for at least some modifications to the development.

This time many of the opponents to the hotel development have offered similar objections to Jeremy Norris’ plans for his popular venue on the corner of Byng and Clinton streets.

Their objections include concerns over the additional noise and traffic the development may bring.

There’s also many who think its modern “glass box” look and size is out of balance with the streetscape of the largely heritage area.

Council staff noted several complaints in recent years about ongoing breaches in trading hours, noise from nighttime functions and plant equipment, commercial bread baking, exceeding patron and seating capacity limits and illegal parking by patrons across residents' driveways.

However there are many who wrote to council supporting the development, suggesting it would prove a hit with both locals and tourists.

As Orange continues to draw food and wine lovers, the supporters of the Byng Street Local Store argue city tourists demand such contemporary venues.

The changes will also enable the site to better cope with Orange’s uncertain weather conditions because according to Mr Norris when it’s raining, or cold, the current venue can only fit 35 people.

He said the design, which had also been well supported in submissions to council, would in fact improve the streetscape because the existing garage would be gone.

No matter where you stand on this issue, or the wider issue of heritage buildings and negotiating the demands of an expanding city, it’s important as many people as possible head to Thursday night’s council meeting.

Long after this development is approved or rejected, the issue of how to incorporate heritage buildings into an area that’s so close to the CBD, isn’t going away anytime soon.