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Byron Shire
September 20, 2021

Tweed Coast Road’s scenic values threatened: mayor

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Yje Kings Forest site.
The Kings Forest site. Image Tweed Shire Council

Luis Feliu

Tweed Shire Council has paved the way for a major service-station complex on the Tweed Coast Road opposite the entry to the Kings Forest township development for 5,000 homes, despite fears it will spoil the road’s scenic values.

Opposing councillors also say giant food outlets major McDonalds or KFC may be sited on the prominent site eventually.

The council last week approved a modification of the concept plan for the Kings Forest subdivision by the Leda Group which allows food and drink premises within a proposed ‘employment land’ area of the project on the eastern side of the Tweed Coast Road.

The development at Cudgen is opposite Depot Road, the proposed entry to the township.

Majority councillors (Warren Polglase, Barry Longland, Phil Youngblutt and Carolyn Byrne) backed the staff recommendation that council raise no objection to the state planning department assessing the project on the proposed change to the permissible use of the land to include food outlets.

But mayor Katie Milne and deputy mayor Gary Bagnall opposed the move, saying it did not accord with the shire planning code for that stretch of road to be part of a Protected Green Belt and would erode scenic values important to the Tweed’s natural character.

Crs Milne and Bagnall said there was already a major service station nearby at Chinderah, existing business centres would be unfairly disadvantaged, and that such a complex should be restricted to areas servicing long-distance travellers.

The development of a major Coles supermarket up the road at Casuarina, they said, had significantly impacted on the integrity of the Tweed Coast Road and surrounding landscape and there was no reason to further erode the scenic drive between Kingscliff and the southern villages of the Tweed Coast.

But shire chief planner Vince Connell described the inclusion of an extra land use for the employment land as minor and that any further proposed use of the site such as service station would be considered later on its merits.

The plans for the service-centre building on the Tweed Coast Road. Image Tweed Shire Council
The plans for the service-centre building on the Tweed Coast Road. Image Tweed Shire Council

The proposed development site on a prominent corner of the Tweed Coast Road.

Mr Connell said it was believed Leda wanted to pursue a separate development application (DA) for a major service station on the site, with around six tenancies and eating area included.

Mr Connell said this ‘may change when Leda seeks approval for the land use, but the current modification proposal only seeks approval for the strategic exercise to change the adopted Development Code to allow a new use to be permissible’.

Kings Forest development manager Reg Van Rij told council’s community access session before the meeting last week that councillors should not assume the service station would provide fast food, as it ‘could be for an Italian restaurant’.

Cr Milne said the plans for the service station ‘show a McDonalds, KFC and Subway and drive thru similar to Chinderah’, but Leda told council ‘there is no intention to have a fast food outlet without a service station. We would have no concern about a condition to that effect’.

In its submission, Leda said ‘It makes little planning sense to separate the preparation and sale of food or drink for immediate consumption, from land uses in which they are frequently associated (such as service stations, garden centres, internet cafes and offices). The omission of “food and drink premises” from the Kings Forest Development Code’s precinct development matrix appears to be nothing more than an oversight. The proposed change is justified’.

In his report, Mr Connell said ‘the green corridor along Tweed Coast Road has been interrupted with the State Government approval for the Casuarina Town Centre which incorporated a new Coles development on the corner of Tweed Coast Road and the newly erected traffic lights at Grand Parade as established vegetated that had shielded the development from Tweed
Coast Road has now been removed.’

‘Furthermore, the rezoning of Kings Forest under the Major Project SEPP 2005 authorised that part of Kings Forest on the eastern side of Tweed Coast Road to be used for development purposes when the earlier Tweed DCP Section B9 indicated a preference for this part of Kings Forest to be environmentally protected,’ he said.

‘Historically, Council has attempted to retain the existing vegetated setting along Tweed Coast Road, with the Casuarina and Salt developments originally being shielded from Tweed Coast Road with significant vegetation where possible.’


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  1. I strongly oppose this proposal in agreement with Councillors Milne and Bagnall.
    The traffic impacts on the road will be susbstantial, and just wait for the traffic jams in the morning when Kings Forest residents try to merge onto the Coast Road – the only route North to work on the Gold Coast.
    While there is nothing wrong with having a new Coles supermarket for Casuarina, it is a substantial visual eyesore where it is located. The trend all over the current Brisbane and points south developments is creating bland and ugly “instant” “generic” suburbs complete with generic retail and food outlets. I knew the tide of redevelopment would reach this area when I built my house at Cabarita in 1996. But if we can preserve green buffer zones at least some semblance of amenity will be retained.

  2. Disturbing – city-centric planning permission, vague promises, damage already done, the creep of cheap template suburbanization of stunningly beautiful natural beauty (the very drawcard for growth potentially being destroyed). How can a Council like this have such an impressive Art Gallery, when it seems so dismissive of the values that underpin such an institution? Upfront defense of the best of the Tweed is needed or it will quickly be destroyed by greed & money grubbing. Perhaps the Council needs an election date (again – the track record is not good) – the voice of the community appears to be unheard by interests that address their hip pockets not vibrant & sustainable living. Allow this to continue to happen and it will all go to mud (and I’m not talking about flooding).

  3. Not only does council not follow their own shire planning code but the fact is koalas use the underpass to get to the other side of the road where this development is proposed. Soon there will be nowhere left for koalas at Kings Forest and they will all perish – thanks, as usual, to koala-hating Tweed Shire council.

  4. What a fantastic innovation this would be as it would put the coast road on par with every other faceless, soulless, dull piece of concrete on the East coast. Leaving rural land in tact is such a waste when you can fill it with a Macca’s so that some corporate suit in their office can keep their shareholders happy. I for one, loved it here because there was no 4 lane highway, shopping mall, tasty and nutritious American food chain outlets and can see no reason why the majority have to be ignored other than the fact that the system makes it extremely difficult for a united voice to be heard.
    Driving south from the Gold Coast, you’d cross the Tweed River and somehow everything would slow down, thin out, go quieter. Polglase and his cronies (weren’t they sacked once??), won’t be happy until you can drive from Southport to Pottsville without seeing a blade of grass or a piece of wildlife. We will all look back one day and wonder where it all went and how we let it happen. Maybe there was too much greed worrying about house devaluation!?!


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