Parking priority in CBD masterplan approval

Councillors have voted to start survey work in preparation for the roll-out of the CBD masterplan, but called for a rethink on designs for Templar Street.

A Templar Street business owner attended Thursday afternoon’s Council meeting, and spoke against any plans that involved removing parking spaces between Lachlan and Rankin streets.

The recommendation to councillors was to adopt consultants’ second option for Templar Street, which saw one bank of car parking removed at the Rankin Street end to create a paved, shaded space for seating.

“I know it doesn’t sound like a lot,” the business owner said.

“But one thing about a country town is (people) want convenience.

“We drive around and around to get a park as it is.”

She added that elderly people in particular accessing her business relied on parking nearby.

Councillors decided to go back to the Templar Street business community to find a solution that suited everyone.

The options for Templar Street all involved losing some parking and councillors decided that wasn't acceptable.

The options for Templar Street all involved losing some parking and councillors decided that wasn't acceptable.

The rest of the masterplan, which has been on exhibition for community comment, was given the go-ahead. 

Priorities within it will be developing the entrances to Forbes town centre – drawing vehicles in from the highway through Lachlan Street, Cross Street, Spring Street and at the Newell Highway end of Templar Street.

“We need to get people into the CBD,” Cr Phyllis Miller said, describing a shady, tree-lined Lachlan Street that would hopefully do just that.

The overall vision to create a greener CBD with more shade trees needed to progress, councillors agreed.

The Council staff report to Thursday’s Council meeting said response to the draft masterplan had been “overwhelmingly positive”. 

​Thirty people attended both a CBD walk-through and business workshop before the draft plan was developed, a further 264 completed an online retail shopper survey. 

Eighty people went along to a public meeting to view the draft masterplan. 

Councillors only agreed “there was no agreement” on the options before them for Templar Street.

“There’s concern by the businesses about losing carparks,” Cr Phyllis Miller said. “It’s terribly important that we take notice of that.”

Mayor Graeme Miller said the plan was to allow more space for outdoor dining, which is very much in demand, but he too felt the option before council wasn’t right. 

Surveying work can begin, so designs for other parts of the masterplan can progress. Costs were estimated at $50,000 for surveying and $200,000 for design.