A major player in the controversial West Byron development appears to be pulling the plug on his holding just days before the council’s Development Control Plan (DCP) for the subdivision is due to go on exhibition.
Prominent Sydney CBD property developer Terry Agnew bought a sizeable portion of the project early last year from failed local property company Crighton.
He now looks set to make millions of dollars in profit just for sitting on the land for a matter of months.
Mr Agnew’s company Tower Holdings has refused to comment on the issue but a sizeable advertisement appeared in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald, with a bird’s-eye view of the land for sale, which appears to be his holding.
In May this year Mr Agnew was spruiking the high prices of Byron land and this is echoed in the ad, which reads ‘Byron Bay median house price is now $966,000.’
The ad says the parcel potentially contains allotments for ‘300-450 dwellings’.
800 houses maximum: council
Meanwhile the DCP for the development will go on exhibition early next month, with Byron Shire Council approving some smaller lot sizes, dual-key and co-op developments.
But the council has ruled out holiday letting in the new suburb and says that a maximum of 800 blocks will be allowed.
The council has come under considerable fire for failing to oppose the development, which was approved by the state government in November last year.
Eventually the government handed the DCP back to council to develop under tight conditions but Byron Residents Group (BRG) described the council’s consultation process as ‘a token gesture’.
‘Of the nine “community members” who attended, two were from interests associated with the developers, four were architects or associated with building, which left only three members of the group who had no vested interest,’ BRG spokesperson Cate Coorey said at the time.
Council’s director of sustainable environment and economy, Shannon Burt, said the draft DCP includes a staging plan for land release, transport movement, pedestrian walkways, cycleways, landscaping for the protection and enhancement of riparian areas and remnant vegetation, active and passive recreation areas, stormwater, bush fire, flooding, contamination and urban design controls.
Ms Burt the aim of the development was to provide ‘a diverse range of housing.’
‘The residential controls include some smaller lot sizes as permitted under the Byron LEP 1988,’ she said.
‘As a greenfield site, mews-style housing can exist within the R3 Medium Density Zone plus opportunities for dual key living to provide a diverse range of living,’ she added.
Ms Burt said co-operative housing could also go ahead to share resources with the intent of providing affordable housing.
But holiday letting would not be allowed within West Byron DCP, Ms Burt said.
She added that the draft DCP cannot alter zonings, lots sizes or building heights as these controls are prescribed within the Byron LEP 1988.
Ms Burt said the number of houses at West Byron would not be known until the development applications for the site are presented to council.
But another staff member was not so coy about the figure.
Strategic planner Chris Larkin told ABC radio this morning the DCP would allow for a maximum of 800 residences.
‘We’re anticipating across the site around 700 to 800 lots would be the final residential [figure at] the site.’
Ms Burt said other elements of the plan allowed for rainwater tanks, efficient street lighting and solar power.
‘Plus a revegetation plan for the environmental zones will be implemented to strengthen habitat corridors,’ she said.