A new supermarket could be coming to town after council backflipped on a decision made two years ago. During 2021, plans for a supermarket next to the Bloomfield Medical Centre and opposite the Orange Health Service on Forest Road were rejected by Orange City Council. At the time, councillors said the CBD shopping area was still suffering, with more empty shops and competition not warranted. This decision meant businesses like Woolworths or Coles would not be allowed to operate there. But at the December 5, 2023 council meeting, it was voted to support the possibility of a "modest" supermarket less than half the size of the rejected plans at the Bloomfield Shopping Centre site. Councillor Jeff Whitton pointed to the non-conventional times of day staff at the hospital worked as a reason to support the proposal. "I think with the amount of people who work at the health facility and the hours they work, especially when they need to buy food for their home it's really hard," he said. "If they can do that whilst they are at work during the day when they have a break, I think that goes towards giving them more time to manage their families". Councillor Tammy Greenhalgh added a supermarket could benefit more than just hospital staff. "I think with the facilities that we now have out there with Ronald McDonald House, Cancer Care West Lodge for people who sometimes don't have transport, it's a great opportunity to duck over and grab the essential items that they require," she said. During the 2021 decision to reject a supermarket at the site, concerns were raised about how CBD shops - which were still reeling from the Covid pandemic - would cope from added competition. On that occasion, the size of the supermarket would have been roughly between 1,600m2 - 1,700m2. This new "neighbourhood supermarket" concept which was unanimously approved on Tuesday night would use roughly 650m2 of the shopping centre's space. An economic impact assessment undertaken as a result of the proposal estimated there would be a sales impact on the Orange CBD of -0.3 per cent (-$1.6 million). "This impact would be spread across all established supermarkets in the CBD such that the impact to each individual supermarket would only be a portion of this amount," the report read. "It is therefore considered to be negligible and would not threaten the viability of the CBD." As a result of Tuesday's vote, council staff will now refer the matter to the Department of Planning and Environment for a "gateway determination" and request plans be formally provided to council. There are currently 3,900 workers in the broader health district, a number which is estimated to grow to 4,560 by 2041.