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Byron Shire
April 14, 2021

Move to create holiday let precinct

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Byron Cr Duncan Dey has attempted to revive a 2009 move on holiday letting in the Shire.

While light on detail, Cr Dey’s motion at Thursday’s Byron Shire Council meeting ‘commits to investigating precincts rather than continuing to discuss their possibility’.

Crs Cubis and Di Woods voted against the motion.

The motion comes amid ongoing closed meetings between Byron Shire Council and interest groups including the Holiday Letting Organisation (HLO), and the Victims of Holiday Letting (VOHL), who oppose.

And despite years of complaints by residents affected by unruly visitors, Council staff noted in Cr Dey’s motion that ‘To date, little work has been done on the holiday let matter, but Council has resolved to deal with one specific unapproved tourist development at Old Bangalow Road, Byron Bay’.

Why so little work? According to Council’s media spokesperson, legal proceedings against holiday lets have been deferred, ‘until after results of a workshop with HLO, representatives of letting agents, councillors and staff to discuss options for regulation of holiday letting’. A forum with all stakeholders will take place in a few weeks’ time, they added.

But much had already been done on the topic in 2009, with a link to Council’s holiday letting plans still available online.

The Echo asked then-mayor Jan Barham why Council’s plans didn’t eventuate at the time. ‘HLO opposed it,’ she said. ‘They lobbied the [then-Labor] state government, and the government promised they would make a statewide policy.’

She says that never happened.

But Council’s plans may now carry some weight after the NSW coalition government indicated the issue should be dealt with locally. Additionally a landmark Land and Environment Court case in Gosford in May 2013 found short-term letting unlawful under Gosford City Council’s zoning rules. In response, that council immediately proposed to amend its local environment plan (LEP).

Cr Dey says that his plans are aimed at a long-term change, but conceded there are obstacles. ‘There are many people in high places with vested interests in holiday letting,’ he says. ‘We have to acknowledge that holiday letting is here to stay,’ he said. ‘You can’t get rid of it.’

The Echo asked HLO president John Gudgeon if his organisation would support Council’s proposal but he did not reply before deadline.

Previously he told The Echo he would prefer not to comment until talks with Council had been completed.

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  1. No comment from HLO Byron spokesperson John Gudgeon again.He has always had a great deal to say. Perhaps he won’t comment because he really knows that holiday letting is ILLEGAL in residential zones. The holiday let industry doesn’t want zones,. precincts or regulations. They just want to maintain the status quo and rake in their profits. Do they really care about the neighbours of these holiday lets? No. They know what they have to do to solve the problems but their greed won’t allow them

  2. I am not surprised that there isn’t any comment from Mr John Gudgeon and there hasn’t been any in public for some time. Justice Rachael Pepper in the NSW Land and Environment Court said that holiday letting in residential areas is illegal. He should tell the HLO members that the advise he received from his Sydney legal advisors is incorrect.

  3. Mr John Gudgeon of HLO Byron is still publicly saying that there are limited complaints about holiday lets in Byron as shown by not many complaints to his Holiday Hotline Security. Mr Gudgeon should speak to the relevant Council staff who deal with these complaints and the local police. He will get a different story. Many neighbours of these holiday lets won’t use his security service because they have found it inefficient and ineffective.

    Mr Gudgeon’s organisation does not want any zones or precincts. With this scenario, once peaceful residential areas can overnight be turned into a “living hell” He wants self regulation but he has had 8 years to make his self regulation work. HLO’s attempts , on the whole, have been completely unsuccessful. He states that his Holiday Rental Code of Conduct has the support of government. This Code has mistakes, omissions and is unwieldy for any renter. Mr Gudgeon has admitted in one of his newsletters that it is too legalese.

  4. There has been some action finally on the holiday lets ongoing saga. It may not be a satisfactory outcome for many residents. I was told that councilors, council staff and opposing sides of the holiday lets issue met recently to pass comment on a presentation done by planning staff. One part of the presentation was potential holiday lets precincts for the future. It showed large areas of South Golden Beach, New Brighton, Brunswick Heads, Byron Bay and Suffolk Park being in these potential precincts. These are residential areas and there are going to be thousands of upset and angry permanent residents if this happens, I hope it doesn’t come to fruition, but one never knows with this council. Some investigation is needed.


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