In a close vote Byron Shire councillors decided 5-4 last Thursday to refuse a development application (DA) for a controversial mixed residential and commercial building at 9 Station Street, Bangalow, near the A&I Hall.
Mayor Simon Richardson moved to refuse the DA on various grounds drawn from the previous DA for a similarly large building on the site.
Greens Cr Rose Wanchap again broke ranks with her colleagues to vote with the conservative bloc of Crs Diane Woods, Greg Cubis and Alan Hunter for the development with arguments about the ‘inevitability of change’ and that Council may get taken to court.
But their backing of the development narrowly failed when Crs Richardson, Duncan Dey, Basil Cameron, Paul Spooner and Sol Ibrahim voted it down, raising issues such as bulk and scale of the proposed building (its 11.7m height would be above all future buildings in Station Street, set to be 9m under the new LEP), its likely influence on the heritage status of the neighbouring A&I Hall, and its heavy use of the narrow lane to its east. Staff planners had recommended approval.
If successful the development would have included eight flats, three shops and basement car parking for 22 vehicles. During public access, town planner Paul de Fina and employee of the developer Bart Elias spoke in favour of the staff recommendation. Bangalow resident and former Byron Shire councillor Jenny Coman spoke against and had the support of several other residents in the gallery.
It is expected the developers will challenge the refusal in the Land and Environment Court.