Splendour in the Grass will be held at its North Byron Parklands site for the first time next year, as part of a five-year temporary approval granted yesterday by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC).
The PAC claims in its report that the temporary approval, together with additional conditions it has imposed, amounts to a ‘precautionary approach’.
Audience numbers have been capped at 25,000 in the first year and up to 35,000 by the fifth year – 15,000 lower than the applicants’ requested size of 50,000.
Two other events will be allowed on the site each year of the trial, effectively blowing Byron Shire Council’s plan for two major music festivals per year out of the water.
As with Splendour, the minor events will scale up in numbers each year. The first year will see 10,000 and 15,000 people respectively, increasing to 15,000 and 25,000 in the final year of the trial.
A maximum of 10 event days will be permitted each year during the trial, with a day allowed either side of the event for campers to arrive and depart. No event must exceed four event days.
The PAC allowed for up to 25,000 campers onsite on the basis that it would reduce traffic around the festival site and other unnamed ‘potential offsite impacts’.
Mat Morris, general manager of North Byron Parklands, said ‘it has been a long journey; we are pleased to finally gain approval’.
‘The approval means the permanent return of Splendour in the Grass to the Byron Shire. The festival will be held at Belongil Fields this year and at North Byron Parklands from 2013.’
Mr Morris added, ‘63 per cent of the site is out of bounds, set aside for nature either as protected existing vegetation or new habitat areas’.
Byron Shire Council, which had hoped to reap some benefit from the site via section 94 developer contributions, had its argument flatly rejected by the PAC.
‘Section 94 contributions are not typically applied to temporary uses. The Commission also notes that section 94 contributions were not levied by the Council for prior approval on the application site or for Bluesfest at Tyagarah,’ the report reads.
‘For the above reasons, the Commission considers it is inappropriate to impose section 94 contributions for a time-limited trial. The matter can be reconsidered should the proponent lodge future development applications following the trial,’ it concludes.
The PAC says it took into consideration residents’ objections about noise and has created additional conditions to deal with these.
The modified noise controls are as follows:
- Between 11am and midnight, noise level measured at sensitive receivers must not exceed background plus 10dBA;
- All stages must be shut down at midnight;
- Bar, café and dance floors may remain open until 2am, but between midnight and 2am, noise level measured outside the bedroom window(s) at sensitive receivers must not exceed background plus 5dBA;
- All amplified music must cease at 2am.
Additionally, a noise survey must be carried out before each trial event is held to confirm the relevant background level and the information must be made available to the property owners and reported in the monitoring report.
The noise control levels are to be reviewed after the first year of trial to assess their suitability and performance.
The PAC says the levels may be increased if the affected landowners agree to a higher level, or decreased based on recommendations of the Regulatory Working Group.
The PAC was satisfied with the director-general’s recommended approval of management plans for bushfire, flooding and emergency evacuation and for a post-event review process.