BETTER protection for the older areas of Orange will be investigated after one property holder questioned a modern extension next door.
Casey Street residents David and Julie Driscoll complained in December when work started on a house next door without forewarning.
They later discovered it fell under complying development, a state government planning mechanism which sped up approvals, but denied neighbours the chance to comment on a development application during the assessment stage.
Mr Driscoll presented to councillors on the development, saying Casey Street was worthy of being in Orange’s heritage conservation area, which would mean all development applications would have to go through the normal development application process.
“By any national standards, Casey Street must be considered historic,” he said.
“In most NSW country towns, certainly the central coast and many a fashionable Sydney suburb, Casey Street with its near-century-old buildings would have a voice, but sadly, it does not.”
Councillor Glenn Taylor moved for a report on how the council could strengthen building codes in older areas where complying development was proposed.
Although he recognised council staff had no choice on complying development, he said he was amazed extensions to older homes were still being designed in a modern style.
“Given the fact that we’ve had precedents in Dalton Street and Casey Street where we’ve had those old homes that are 100-odd years old that have these boxes put on the the back of them, I thought we probably would have moved on a little bit from that given the amount of publicity heritage areas have received in the not-too-distant past,” he said.
“When do we start to learn? We really do need to take this stuff on board.”
Cr Taylor argued Casey Street should be in the heritage conservation area, particularly many of the homes had reached 100 years old in the time it was reviewed in 2011.
“If we can broaden that for a heritage streetscape that needs to be protected, so be it,” he said.
“It might be more work, I understand that, but at least it comes back onto the council.”
General manager Garry Styles said it would be a matter of what could and could not be done around state legislation, and expanding the heritage conservation area would be one of the options.