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 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.’