BATHURST Regional Council is prepared to be flexible on parking, if The Oxford Hotel can prove that it can provide adequate parking on site to support its development plans.
Council last week considered a development application (DA) from Lion Majestic Pty Ltd seeking to make alterations and additions to the existing two-storey premises on the corner of William and Piper streets.
The proposal includes enclosing part of the existing beer garden to extend the dining area, upgrading the nightclub for use as a sports lounge, new entry to the sports bar from Piper Street, new entry to the hotel from William Street and an upgrade of finishes and fittings.
With such a proposal, the developer would be required to make a $227,536.80 contribution to council to compensate for a shortfall of parking spaces.
ALSO MAKING NEWS:
There would be 53 spaces provided to patrons, 17 short of the 70 required. As the developer previously paid a contribution in 2004, and the rules have changed since then, they are now required to pay $18,961.40 for 12 spaces.
But instead of forcing the developer to pay the hefty price, councillors resolved to defer a decision on the DA so the developer could do their own parking study to justify having only 53 spaces on site.
Councillor Warren Aubin said council had to take into account the type of business that The Oxford Hotel is.
"I realise there is certain things that have to be done and protocols to do with parking spaces, with contributions from developers, and I understand that has to be done but what I see in this circumstance is there's a one-size-fits-all and that's the rule that's applied through planning, which I don't think is right," Cr Aubin said.
"I find that, especially for a hospitality zone like this particular one, people don't drive to it.
"People catch a taxi or people walk, there's not that necessity for that much parking in a place like this.
"If this was an accommodation DA, then I would say yes, because people drive their cars to stay at accommodation places.
"If it was a shopping centre, same thing, people drive their cars in and park.
"This one I just think is not there. It doesn't, to me, need that many car parks."
Cr Alex Christian agreed, saying he doesn't see many cars parked around The Oxford Hotel at night. But he also wanted council to factor in what the hospitality industry has already faced in 2020.
"The hospitality industry has copped an absolute flogging in the last six or seven months and to have to fork out over $200,000 is a serious hit," he said.
Council will now wait for the developer to carry out and submit their own parking study before referring the item to a future meeting for determination.
Councillors also want to review the parking policy and contributions so it isn't one-size-fits-all.
What do you think?
- Why not write us a letter to the editor ...