Byron Residents Group (BRG) has again taken aim at a retirement development planned for Ewingsdale, which has requested an increase in size from 165 to 260 residences before it has even been approved.
And BRG spokesperson Cate Coorey has described the proposal as ‘a site for “managing” old people on an industrial scale’.
The planned changes, which also include 60 high-care beds and a 3,000 square-metre commercial site (the size of the Sunrise IGA complex), are currently on exhibition at Byron Shire Council despite the department of planning having yet to approve changes to the shire’s LEP that would allow it to go ahead.
Ms Coorey has described the proposal as ‘a Trojan horse that should alarm all residents of the shire.’
‘These developers, aided by councillors who have no regard for proper planning processes, intend to just ignore the zoning on this beautiful rural land at the entryway to our town,’ she said.
‘If they succeed then any future developer who fancies plonking a suburb down wherever they like can try to do the same — and if council says ‘yes’ to one developer and ‘no’ to them, what then? Will we be endlessly fighting court battles?
‘There is no planning strategy supporting this proposal, only a planning agenda driven by developers and assisted by an illegitimate Council majority that has never been representative of what the people of Byron want.’
Council staff and department of planning regional assessors initially recommended against the development and a door-to-door survey of Ewingsdale residents showed just two per cent of nearly two hundred people interviewed supported it.
The development would require an amendment of Byron Shire Council’s 2014 LEP as the land was zoned rural just two years ago, and in its rejection the department said approval of the planning proposal ‘has the potential to set a precedent or expectation for the “rezoning” of other land outside of the strategic planning process.’
It added the proposal was ‘not consistent with the provisions of SEPP (Rural Lands) and the North Coast Regional Environmental Plan which required the release of rural land for urban purposes to be in accordance with an adopted growth planning strategy.’
The proposed Voluntary Planning Agreement can be found on the Byron Shire Council website. Residents have until February 12 to make submissions.