A NEW road running parallel to Hereford Street to link growth areas east of the Macquarie River with the Bathurst CBD has been suggested as a way of combating congestion in the area.
Paddy's Hotel owner Liam O'Hara suggested the new link as part of a submission to Bathurst Regional Council requesting a rezoning of a number of lots of land around the hotel to allow for some residential construction and further business options.
Plans submitted to council show the proposed new road would extend Jacks Close, the cul-de-sac that runs from Gilmour Street to Paddy's Hotel, across wetlands to a new river crossing that would link with Rankin Street.
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"This would create a new road into Bathurst running parallel to Hereford Street," the submission states.
"We feel this would be a better solution to the congestion on Hereford Street. This road could be built without interfering with Hereford Street and would prevent further congestion while the road works and bridge were being constructed."
But the new road proposal was just one element of an extensive submission considered as part of council's discussion about Vision Bathurst 2040 - Bathurst Region Local Strategic Planning Statement.
Council staff had recommended against considering a rezoning until new flood studies can be completed, but a majority of councillors voted to include in the final motion a commitment to "investigate the suitability of the Gilmour Street corridor for new urban purposes and/or urban intensification".
Councillors Monica Morse and Graeme Hanger both voted against the final motion, saying it was inappropriate to add a new amendment at the last minute to an important planning document that had taken more than six months to prepare.
Environmental, planning and building services director Neil Southorn also urged councillors to tread carefully as he feared committing to "investigate" a potential for rezoning might provide false hope to Mr O'Hara about how soon such an investigation might be possible.
"[This] may raise expectations that all this work will automatically happen to commence an investigation [but] it needs to be prioritised with all the other projects that council needs to progress with," Mr Southorn said.
"But being in the LSPS [Local Strategic Planning Statement] gives it a status that's higher for the land owners than would otherwise be the case."
Mr Southorn said the investigation would require a "significant amount of work", including a review of the existing flood study that would run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mr O'Hara's submission points out that extensive flood levy work in the Hereford and Gilmour street area carried out by council in over the past 20 years has provided extra protection to the lots in question than was the case when original flood studies were conducted.
Engineering services director Darren Sturgiss said council last year applied for state government funding to update the region's floodplain management plan but was unsuccessful.
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