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Byron Shire
September 27, 2023

Mullumbimby heritage about more than streetscape

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Many people do not know that the old part of Mullumbimby township west of the railway line was declared a Heritage Conservation Area in July 2014 under the new the DCP and LEP. This is the area where the 10 double-storey units are proposed to be built at 116 Stuart St.

The process to declare this area a Heritage Conservation Area began in 2004. It took 10 years to achieve this with lots of community consultation, many community meetings, a community based heritage study, a heritage steering committee, 12 months’ research and advice by a heritage advisor from Sydney and much council input.

The aim and objective of the heritage legislation is to preserve the rural old-world character of Mullumbimby and to stop development that distracts from the town’s character and ambience. That means it is not just the front streetscapes that are to be preserved but the whole town area including the back lanes and the main street.

The development of 10 units at 116 Stuart St does not conform to the heritage legislation requirements set out in the LEP and DCP which are intended to protect the character and feeling of the town. If the house, as a last resort, cannot be renovated and needs to be demolished then the new house needs to be built in the single storey character style of the town and if a secondary dwelling is built at the rear it also needs to be built in that character.

If the these units go ahead it will be the beginning of the end of preserving the town’s heritage character because it will set a precedent and the next house can be demolished and units built under the guise of affordable housing – and there goes all that 10 years of work by the community and there goes the town feeling that we all love and why we are here

Len Bates, Mullumbimby



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  1. Len,
    And how do you think the vote will go in Council now with 5 pro-development councillors and 4 pro-environment councillors and one of those is the mayor.
    I am not pre-empting that that will be the vote, but the Byron ratepayers have yet to pay for a rock wall on a local beach to keep the ocean at bay. Controversy is building in the Byron shire and getting rocky about keeping Byron as Byron. Public confidence is waning and ratepayers are gaining agitation and looking stone-faced about the future here. There needs to be a stand by the proletariat that we are not going to take it any more.

  2. Great letter.

    What do we as a community wont for mullum, do we wont the rural old-world character of Mullumbimby or do we wont to line the pockets of developers?

    I guess some people will argue that there needs to be more affordable accommodation but at what cost? And how long would it stay affordable? There are many affordable units to choose from in Ballina or Lismore.

    Lets keep the town the way it is as much as possible?

    • Though I neither agree nor disagree with the development of units in that particular location of Mullumbimby, I would definitely disagree with there being “many” affordable units in Lismore or Ballina. There are a few affordable units in these towns, but there are many low income humans all competing for the same accommodation. Homelessness is high, for singles and families alike. Development is necessary for humans to have somewhere to live – “Heritage” nonsense doesn’t make up for the rampant homelessness in this region; and it doesn’t give a solution to the real problems humans are facing on a day to day basis. I give thanks for the developers – they are the ones providing accommodation, they are the ones putting up all the risk of finances and insurance to provide a TOP service to humanity! I would recommend everyone re-thinking their idea of what a developer is and see that without them, humans don’t have homes.

  3. I vote that we try and maintain the integrity of the whole Shire. This development for Mullum is completely out of place and should not happen. Two storied housing? No.
    So how do people feel about a Rural land Use Strategy that wants to put 320 houses in the Main Arm, 320 in the pocket and 80 in Middle Pocket. ?
    Talk about destroying the heritage of the township ! That’s what the 5 councillors want to do.
    Read the draft at council chambers or on their web site.
    WE must preserve

  4. There is at least one perfectly available large commercial premise for sale on Burringbar street in need of total reformation, perhaps the redundant no longer used retail & bank premises could be turned into this affordable housing instead of carving up and destroying local residential heritage street scapes?


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