OUR SAY: Roadblocks remain in place for Telopea Way-Farrell Road development

CONJECTURE: The intersection of Telpoea Way and Farrell RoadWHEN then-NSW planning minister Pru Gowardinstructed the Western Joint Regional Planning Panel to review a rejected rezoning proposal on the corner of Telopea Way and Farrell Road and take it out of Orange City Council’s hands, it was starting to look like a done deal.

Especially when rumours started to circulate that the mooted KFCand service station might not be the development of choice, it became unclear whether a rezoning to a local centre could allow anything from entertainment facilities and indoor sporting facilities to registered clubs and tourist accommodation.

But the panel’s ultimate decision to support Orange City Council’s refusal in 2012 has shown community voices are not only heard, but genuinely taken on board.

In fact, the justifications the panel used to maintain the current residential zoning virtually mirrored the concerns put forward by the council, residents and NSW Roads and Maritime Services.

It certainly would have been worrying if the proposal had gone through relying on pre-McDonald’s traffic figures.

Whether you believe the fast-food restaurant has had a detrimental impact on traffic flow or not, current traffic numbers should be a baseline requirement and it’s hard not to feel sorry for the motorists trying to exit North Orange Shopping Centreas sportsgoers leave Waratahs.

While residents have welcomed the decision, there is the ‘what now’ factor – revisions to the two intersections have improved flow, but the link road to William Maker Drive is still under construction and the council is yet to announce its plans for Clergate Road. Until these occur, it is unclear how much extra development the precinct can handle.

Residents are begging for a post office or a doctor’s surgery at the site, which are allowed without a rezoning, but quick action on the road network would make further development smoother and far less stressful for nearby landowners.

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