Tamworth Regional Council divided on changes to Peel St during country music festival

HIVE OF ACTIVITY: Peel St will be reopened to traffic between Bourke and Brisbane streets in 2018. Photo: Gareth Gardner 200117GGC04

HIVE OF ACTIVITY: Peel St will be reopened to traffic between Bourke and Brisbane streets in 2018. Photo: Gareth Gardner 200117GGC04

TAMWORTH Regional Council is divided over the future of Peel St in country music festival.

Even though council has officially decided to reopen the block to traffic for the 2018 festival, the councillors have reported a range of feedback and opinion on the change.

The motion was brought before council this week after the Tamworth Business Chamber’s plan to manage the block’s festival entertainment fell though without financial backing of businesses.

Glenn Inglis believed the Fitzroy St upgrade could change the dynamic of the festival and, along with Mark Rodda, voted against the motion.

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“I’m a cautious person, so I believe it should just stay the way it is for another year, just see how it manifests itself; the dynamics around that new public area,” he said.

He also worried the change was now being implemented on short notice.

“It is now September and I believe it is insufficient warning to the businesses in that area, because they all make plans for country music festival,” he said.

“It wasn’t all that long ago we were originally happy to do it for three years and there were no real caveats on that, so people might have acted on that and made a few decisions.”

Newly reelected deputy mayor Helen Tickle said the change was “logical” and had received feedback from visitors who appreciated having a quieter end of Peel St to retreat to in festival.

“Many of the visitors actually appreciated going down that end of town where it was a little bit quieter and, from my own observation, some of the businesses did very well,” she said.

“There were businesses that benefited because people could just go down browse and shop because it wasn’t as noisy and congested.

“A lot of businesses benefited from that and some didn’t.”

Russell Webb said there was currently a lot of unhappiness on the block and he’d copped a lot of criticism being vented on the Peel St saga.

“I must emphasise that criticism is not at council,” Cr Webb said.

“There’s some very unhappy people down there.”

Juanita Wilson wanted to ensure there was a consistent turnover of parking on the street during festival.

“That way businesses in that section of Peel St have an opportunity to benefit ... introducing a new element of business,” Cr Wilson said.

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