17.8 C
Byron Shire
April 17, 2021

1,100 homes for West Byron confirmed

Latest News

Coalition ‘hellbent’

Mat Morris, Bangalow The NSW coalition seems to be hellbent on outdoing their federal counterparts when it comes to the denigration...

Other News

Industry response to Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

As the pandemic has again highlighted the standard of treatment of our elders, Australia’s aged care industry has urged...

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 14 April, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 14 April, 2021

A man dead after boat capsizes on Ballina Bar

Police have confirmed that a man has died after a boat capsized at Ballina earlier today.

SCU named as partner in two national drought hubs

Southern Cross University has been announced as playing a crucial partnership role in two new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

Remembering and Healing – the Northern Rivers peace effort

The community of Lismore are invited to join events organised by the Remembering and Healing (RaH) group over the weekend encompassing ANZAC Day.

The ghost in the archives #3: Sexism, legal discrimination and ‘the game of bastadry’

The ghost in the archives #3 – In which a former Echo drudge dives into the crypt and comes up covered in dusty memories.

The comment left by an anonymous Department of Planning and Environment staffer on the Echo Facebook page earlier this week.

Chris Dobney

The Department of Planning and Environment (DoPE) has confirmed that up to 1,100 homes will be built at the controversial West Byron housing development, finally putting to bed claims by the developer that the number was ‘theoretical’.

In a letter to the editor published in Echonetdaily on September 25, West Byron project manager Stuart Murray took exception to this number, which was then being quoted by opponents of the development.

‘The West Byron rezoning proposal does not contain a request for such a figure, nor is this figure considered to be likely,’ Mr Murray wrote.

‘He went on to criticise the Byron Residents Group, which had been vigorously opposing the plan, claiming they ‘repeatedly misrepresented basic facts on many issues’.

In confirming the figure this week, the department has continued its unorthodox approach to the media by including it in a comment on the Echo’s Facebook page.

The unsigned comment was written in response to an article we published on Monday highlighting the reaction of residents to last Friday’s approval announcement. Featuring a departmental logo, it began by announcing that, ‘DP&E has been transparent throughout the process’.

‘There are clear rules in place and they’re the same for everyone. Regarding traffic, we relied on two separate expert traffic studies, which showed that the planned bypass will have an impact in diverting traffic off Ewingsdale Rd,’ the comment continued.’

The commenter than went onto remark: ‘People in Byron are paying Sydney prices for homes with the median house price more than $800,000, with demand pushing prices up. [West Byron] will help increase supply to help meet demand adding up to 1,100 homes.’

On Wednesday Echonetdaily wrote to the department to find out who had authorised the comments. We still have not received a response.

According to the NSW government social media policy, staff are entitled to use social media to communicate with the general public but they are instructed to ‘Identify yourself as an employee of your agency when discussing work-related issues.’

The department’s foray into social media followed its initial announcement on Friday, which contained a number of unattributed quotes, Echonetdaily wrote to the department that day requesting the name of a spokesperson to whom they may be attributed.

We received the following response to that request, ‘The department regularly responds and announces matters such as a rezoning as a matter of core business. This is standard practice across the NSW government.’

The approval is due to be gazetted today but Echonetdaily has been advised not to expect any comment from the minister, or anyone who is prepared to be named, on the matter.

Claims analysed

Echonetdaily put some of the department’s claims regarding the state of the Byron Bay real estate market to local buyers’ agent Michael Murray to test their veracity.

Mr Murray broadly agreed that median property prices in Byron Bay are close to par with Sydney but he warned against placing too much store by such statistics.

‘Median house price statistics vary and it is not an exact science,’ he told Echonetdaily, ‘it depends on whose data you use.

‘RP data reported recently that Sydney median price for free-standing dwellings went over $800,000 and Byron was somewhere I the mid $700,000 range. But this is only for postcode 2481 [Byron Bay and Suffolk Park],’ he said.

Mr Murray described postcode 2481 as ‘a very strong market at the moment with very few listings. It would not be unreasonable to assume that there will be capital gain rises there this financial year’.

But he added the market had been flat for some years and was only now beginning to grow again.

‘I have no data or stats to say to prove it but it is a fairly widely accepted business principle that low supply will provoke price growth. Byron prices have been fairly flat post GFC and are probably now on par with 2008 prices.

‘Market conditions would now suggest the next couple of years will see price rises. Many commentators are suggesting 4-6 per cent per annum. RP data are also suggesting that lifestyle destinations, such as Byron and Noosa, will be in for more growth especially as retirees cash out from recent capital city growth and prepare for retirement,’ he said.

Mr Murray added that developments such as Mullumbimby’s Tallowood had helped people transition from the rental market.

‘Entry level property (below $600k) has always been in high demand. Recent land releases like that at Tallowood estate in Mullumbimby do provide better access for first home buyers and lower level family home options as this kind of development does not cater to investors or speculators. I would expect that to be the same in West Byron.’

‘My opinion is the people who get the worst deal in this area with property are renters. There is no home security and rental prices are outrageous. It is my experience that most young people and families are forced into looking at house purchase due to this. With low interest rates it becomes simple to do the maths and see if they can raise a deposit they will be better off buying land and building rather than renting,’ he said.

However Mr Murray questioned whether the development was in the best interests of Byron Bay overall.

‘Unfortunately what most people are then forced to do, due to the economics of home building, is buy off-the-plan project homes. We therefore get tracts of brick and tile estates which really do not suit Byron Bay or what Byron represents,’ Mr Murray said.

More stories tagged West Byron development

West Byron – wetland or suburb?

Turning the West Byron housing development site into a wetland for excess effluent from the Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) is a possible solution to its increased output, says Greens MP Tamara Smith and Byron Shire councillor Cate Coorey.


Destructive West Byron development refuses to die

West Byron has raised its ugly head again as a group of local landholders attempt to use the courts to force their excessive and inappropriate over-development of a sensitive site, adjacent to the Belongil Estuary, upon the Byron community, against its will and best interests.


Editorial: The dice are loaded

The Regional Planning Panel (RPP) booked the Byron Theatre last week in order to give local people the opportunity to let off steam with verbal objections to the West Byron development proposal.


No agreement reached in West Byron mediation

A court-ordered mediation between Byron Shire Council and West Byron landowners yesterday resulted in no in-principle agreement, meaning the matter will likely head to court.


‘Locals’ West Byron DA refused

Few shows at the Byron Theatre receive such a resounding standing ovation as the Joint Regional Planning Panel on Monday after it refused permission for a 387-lot suburb at West Byron.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. It is revealing that DoPE are still claiming 1,100 houses at West Byron, considering that they are now proposing doubling the potential number of houses by reducing minimum lot sizes down from 450m2 to 150m2 in the low density residential zone. This would potentially allow for well over 2,000 houses. Even Council planners are talking publicly of over 1,500 houses. DoPE are just a useless rubber stamp for the developers, particularly as the two traffic studies they rely on were prepared by the developer, had significant omissions, and only consider traffic from 856 houses. Council’s traffic counts show 7-14% of traffic is through traffic that will use a bypass, so no joy there.

  2. The Department did not follow its own guidelines regarding traffic. The studies they used did not follow RTA guidelines. From the WEST BYRON URBAN RELEASE AREA

    (1) Include a traffic study in accordance with the RTA Guide to Traffic Generating
    Developments , which:
    (a) assess the impacts of the proposal on regional road network, including the
    relationship of the proposal with the MR545 corrido r, and Byron Bay town centre bypass;

  3. With traffic banked back towards Ewingsdale last Friday, can’t imagine what the extra load of West Byron will do. The future extra pedestrian load crossing the roads in town alone will negate any bypass benefits.

    Perhaps the RTA should be building an exit lane for Byron Bay at least 1100 times longer than standard.
    This work is happening now with concrete retaining walls perhaps being built in the wrong spot.

    I wonder if the NSW Planning Department have seen the problems first hand, or are just going on the ‘reports’ of the developers?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Hippie fools

Edward Kent, Suffolk Park So, have the ‘hippie’ hipsters of Byron Bay figured out how the new global establishment party at Davos has played them for...

Step up, Ben

Martin Corben, Lennox Head With the cancellation of Bluesfest now would be a good time for the NSW state government’s ‘local’ wannabe rep Ben Franklin’s...

Suffolk Park Pump Track

We the ‘Engaged Neighbours’, on behalf of the Suffolk Park pump track’s affected neighbours and 300–400 petitioners and letter writers, request Council NOT to continue to bulldoze the large fenced in section of Linda Vidler Parkland adjacent to Baz and Shaz’s shop, close to the houses on three sides.

Byron Shire celebrates seniors during festival week

An action-packed program has been planned for the 2021 Byron Shire Seniors Festival with drumming, dancing, walking, yoga and laughing on the program.