David Brown, Mullumbimby Creek
Byron Shire’s 2007 Community-Based Heritage Study nominated Mullumbimby Town as having local heritage significance. It was rightly described as a place where the physical form of streets, buildings and vegetation reflects the traditional rural character of a small town. Importantly, the study was coordinated by Council’s heritage adviser and conducted in accordance with NSW Heritage Office guidelines. Unfortunately, only eight buildings in the town are protected by the current LEP. The draft LEP extends the number of protected buildings to 36 and includes Station Street as part of a larger conservation area.
If the draft LEP had statutory force the 27–29 Station Street proponents might have been required to submit a heritage impact statement. Such a statement, prepared by a dispassionate and qualified heritage consultant, would inevitably reject the current proposal. Adding insult to injury, Council’s report included the worrisome line: ‘The heritage character/style of the proposed development is considered acceptable’. Pardon?
We now have a situation where there is no certainty the heritage character of Mullumbimby can be protected. Council’s internal development assessment panel does not seem to be effective. And its officers appear incapable of judging development proposals against the Specific Objectives of the DCP’s Chapter 11 (Mullumbimby) or the even its more detailed provisions.
Please, councillors, demand design excellence and start demonstrating you care about Mullumbimby’s built heritage.