The organiser of a community group aiming to stop Mudgee’s Regent Theatre from being turned into a motel said the developers are open to selling the property.
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A development application for an 84-room hotel at the site of the Regent Theatre is being considered by council and the Revive the Regent Theatre Mudgee NSW facebook page have been vocally opposed.
However page administrator Simone Sheridan has also been in contact with developer Chris Matthews to discuss their opposing views.
Ms Sheridan said during her discussions with Mr Matthews, she asked if he would be open to selling the property and he said he would.
“I asked if the owner would be open to selling and he has indicated he is willing,” Ms Sheridan said.
The Mudgee Guardian approached Mr Matthews, who confirmed the conversation took place. He said while his first preference is still to get the DA approved and build the hotel, he wouldn’t rule out selling.
However Mr Matthews said it was more of a case of keeping options open rather than looking to sell.
Ms Sheridan said it was a boost for the group, who have also started a petition opposing the DA to build the hotel.
They are aiming to collect as many signatures as possible to present to council before before December 1.
The petition is to lobby council to hire an independent report on the DA, extend the submission period further, and ultimately reject the DA.
Ms Sheridan said there was strong commitment within the group to their cause.
“The petition is being driven by Bob Lamond, who is on the ground in Mudgee and knows all the history, and he has been tracking it for a long time,” she said.
“The majority of the group feel that council needs to extend the submissions for those people who don’t use the internet and haven’t been able to see the DA yet.
The Revive The Regent group has grown to 1400 members and Ms Sheridan said there had been 5800 comments, likes and shares in less than a month.
“It’s been very busy moderating it all but it shows the passion there is. A lot of people have said it can’t be done, it’s not possible but we are all about testing ideas,” she said.
A Mid-Western Regional Council spokeswoman said the deadline had been extended to give the public an opportunity to respond, and said it was not unusual to extend submissions if there was interest in a particular issue.
The Council also restated their reasons for not purchasing the Regent Theatre when it was previously for sale.
“Following a report in 2012, council determined the purchase and restoration of the Regent Theatre to a functional cinema and live performance venue was not feasible due to the significant capital and ongoing operational costs involved,” the spokeswoman said.
A poll conducted by the Mudgee Guardian asking if they liked the idea of a hotel on the Regent Theatre site attracted a largely negative result with 304 respondents, or 74 per cent, saying no, while 106 people, or 26 per cent, said they would like to see it built.
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