Court rejects oversized Bangalow development

Bangalow residents and Byron Shire Councillors address the onsite meeting at Bangalow's A&I Hall on Thursday (September 11). Photo Wayne Penn

Bangalow residents and Byron Shire Councillors address the onsite meeting at Bangalow’s A&I Hall on Thursday September 11. Photo Wayne Penn

Chris Dobney

Bangalow residents have welcomed a Land and Environment Court ruling yesterday which upheld Byron Shire Council’s rejection of a controversial three-storey mixed residential and commercial development in historic Station Street, Bangalow.

If approved, the building would have included three shops, eight ‘shop-top’ apartments and underground parking for 25 vehicles, which would have had to use an unmade section of narrow Station Lane to access the car park.

Commissioner Susan O’Neill yesterday dismissed an appeal by the developers, Gordon Highlands Pty Ltd, following two days of hearings onsite and at Tweed Heads Local Court on September 11 and 12.

She refused the DA on the grounds of excessive bulk and scale and because the proposed building is not ‘in harmony with the existing or future character of Station Street’.

The proposed building, which had no setback from the road, was outside the height limits set down in Byron Shire Council’s new LEP and would have towered over the rest of Station Street including the A&I Hall.

The Commissioner was also of the view that the proposal would have ‘an adverse impact on the heritage values and existing character of Station Street, the Bangalow Heritage Conservation Area and the heritage items in Station Street’.

Byron Shire Council rejected the developer’s initial proposal last year but earlier this year the proponents came up with a second proposal as the result of court-enforced conciliation with the council.

Those negotiations were abandoned in June after agreement could not be reached but the developer submitted the second proposal anyway, with council rejecting it after pointing out aspects of the shire’s Development Control Plan and enforceable height limits in the new LEP had not been complied with.

The unprepossessing property at 9 Station Street, Bangalow, which is set to be replaced by a controversial three-storey mixed development. Photo Chris Dobney

The unprepossessing property at 9 Station Street, Bangalow, will remain after a controversial three-storey mixed development for the site was refused by the Land and Environment Court. Photo Chris Dobney

The developers then took council to court, seeking to have their amended plan upheld together with the removal of two iconic street trees.

Long-time campaigner against the development, Jenny Coman, described yesterday’s decision as ‘a wonderful result’ and offered her congratulations ‘to all those who worked so hard to get it and also to the commissioner for her sound judgement’.

The former Byron Shire councillor, who was part of the Bangalow Settlement Strategy working group, told Echonetdaily, ‘it’s a really important judgement because it also sets a precedent for future development, which is so important that it be the appropriate development for Bangalow.’

One response to “Court rejects oversized Bangalow development”

  1. Sue Taylor says:

    This is a wonderful outcome for Bangalow, for council – and for the councillors who voted to refuse this inappropriate development.
    The Land and Environment Court has upheld the refusal and the councillor’s concerns have been vindicated.
    The Commissioner agreed a building of this size and scale would have a negative impact on the heritage character of Station Street – and on the iconic historical buildings such as the A & I Hall and the Masonic Hall.

    The residents and council tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with the Sydney developer to come up with something more ‘in keeping’ with the character and charm of Bangalow village. To his detriment he refused to make any significant changes to his oversized development.
    I believe this is a test case for Bangalow.
    Hopefully in the future, developers will have more respect for the town and for the community.

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