A development application to expand the laboratory and research space of a soil research start-up at Charles Sturt University's Orange campus has been lodged with Orange City Council.
The DA, which also seeks to formalise the existing use of the building, went on public exhibition last week.
Soil Carbon Co. are seeking consent to change the use of part of Building 1120, which was previously used as a cellar door premises associated with the University's former vigneron course, for the purpose of a research facility in partnership with the University.
Soil Carbon Co. shares occupancy of the building with wine testing laboratory Vintessential Laboratories, which moved in after the cellar door closed, however the application only relates to the part of the building occupied by Soil Carbon Co.
According to the DA, Soil Carbon Co. occupied the building approximately 18 months ago and undertook a basic laboratory and research space fit-out unaware it required development consent.
They are now applying to formalise that use as well as expand the space.
The expansion plans include an increase to the overall size of the laboratory, with separate "wet lab" and "clean lab" spaces, and a new anteroom between the office and wet lab.
The DA also seeks to relocate the open plan office space into what is currently storage space, provide a new dedicated entry within the south-eastern elevation, provide new staff amenities and a large table that can be used for staff meetings and improve the visual appearance of the front entrance with cladding.
An existing roller door would be left in situ but clad over, new business signage would be installed and a portion of the rear covered area will be enclosed.
Soil Carbon Co. is a start-up exploring the potential of microbes to sequester carbon in agricultural soils, which helps to improve soil fertility and to tackle climate change.
Their technology helps the soil around the plant's roots store more carbon, increasing soil quality and productivity and also reducing carbon levels in the atmosphere.
Soil Carbon Co. work collaboratively with the university and are research partners on a number of research projects. Farmland within the university grounds are used as part of the research. Soil Carbon Co. also host a number of Agricultural Science students within their laboratory on a regular basis.
Submissions on the DA must be received by 5pm on Wednesday, October 27.
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