Parkes Shire Council has purchased 38 hectares of land along the proposed Newell Highway bypass route at Parkes as a proactive approach to minimise economic impacts the project may have on the town.
That’s according to general manager Kent Boyd, who submitted his report on the land purchase to council at Tuesday’s monthly meeting.
He told the meeting several parties had already expressed interest in developing the land, including constructing a highway service centre.
The land – that came with a $1 million price tag – sits directly south-west of the West Lime Road and Condobolin Road intersection and backs onto the Parkes Landfill site.
Mr Boyd stated in his report that it was necessary for council to purchase a parcel of land adjoining the bypass route to secure a long-term gateway to Parkes’ urban area.
Along with submitting five other recommendations on Tuesday, he sought councillors’ support of the decision to buy Lots 382 and 554 to allow settlement of the property, and for a land-use planning review to begin.
“This report provides council with an update of the action that has been taken in recent weeks to optimally position Parkes to minimise potential impacts of the bypass project and maximise opportunities for new developments and infrastructure,” Mr Boyd wrote.
“In response to concerns about uncontrolled speculative development along the new highway alignment, council took action to lead on the planning of land-uses and local roads linking to the proposed new highway, so as to secure a long-term gateway from the bypass to the Parkes urban area and the Parkes National Logistics Hub.
“This land has been evaluated to be of strategic importance in creating the appropriate gateway to the Parkes urban area, provided the appropriate road intersections/accesses and private sector developments are provided to support this gateway site.”
Council had first considered purchasing the land in 2006, when it was on offer for $950,000.
However the electricity transmission lines traversing the site made the land difficult to develop and a purchase wasn’t made at the time.
Mr Boyd listed the land’s location along the route, and its easy access to Condobolin Road, Northparkes Mines and the National Logistics Hub among the benefits of the site.
He also wrote that council could take a land-use planning approach to ensure any development is appropriate and suitable for the community, and that there was a good opportunity to work with the NSW Roads and Maritime Service to ensure linkages are provided.
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the seven recommendations.
Since the proposed route was revealed in December, he said council has been investigating ways and taking action to help reduce its economic impacts.
These included representing the community’s interests in submissions to the RMS, seeking expert town planning and economic impact advice, and investigating the design interventions and initiatives that would encourage travellers along the Newell Highway to visit Parkes for a break, food, other business or overnight stay.