Tamworth Regional Council vows to works on community engagement with major projects

WIDE STREET: Residents have told Tamworth Regional Council they want White St left alone, rejecting plans which would take seven metres width off the street. Photo: Peter Hardin 251116PHE003

WIDE STREET: Residents have told Tamworth Regional Council they want White St left alone, rejecting plans which would take seven metres width off the street. Photo: Peter Hardin 251116PHE003

COMMUNITY backlash over roadworks pegged for White St has forced Tamworth Regional Council to reconsider how they engage with the city on major projects.

It is uncertain what the next step is for the White St resurfacing and guttering project, with staff set to workshop with council a way forward which pleases the effected residents.

Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) director of regional services Peter Resch faced questions from the residents at a meeting on Thursday afternoon, and he said the message was heard loud and clear.

We’re looking to improve how we communicate and engage with the community. - Director of regional services Peter Resch

“Residents want to retain the streetscape and they want the street to stay the same,” Mr Resch said.

Mr Resch was happy with the meeting and said residents were given a good opportunity to share their thoughts.

The council director said community meetings would not be compulsory practice for major projects going forward.

“It depends on what we’re doing, we’re not going to have a community meeting every time we fix a pothole,” he said.

“But, as a general thing, across all parts of council, we’re looking to improve how we communicate and engage with the community.”

Mr Resch will workshop a way forward with council and he said it would be likely another meeting would be held with the White St residents to communicate the new plan.

One option flagged at the meeting was doing nothing, leaving the street how it is. But Mr Resch said the White St water main would have to replaced at some point.

“We know it’s very old and that’s one of the things we will have to decide,” he said.

Local real estate veteran Richie Thornton believes while reducing the width of White St wouldn't necessarily reduce the value of homes, it would take some time to rejuvenate the landscape.

"White St is like a lot of other streets up there, they're very wide, and I no doubt understand why everyone is being a bit concerned," he said.

"Being in central East, I can't say it's going to affect the value, because it is such a tight area - East Tamworth is built out and there's no more land so this is what keeps the value up. 

"If they take three and a half metres off each side, it's still going to be wider than the average street or any street in a new subdivision.

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