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Byron Shire
August 3, 2021

‘Affordable’ units in Mullumbimby set for approval

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Artists impression of the front of the proposed development at 116 Stuart Street, Mullumbimby.
Artist’s impression of the front of the proposed development at 116 Stuart Street, Mullumbimby.

Chris Dobney

Byron Shire Council is set to approve a 10-unit, development on the site of an old fibro cottage at Stuart Street, Mullumbimby at its meeting this week, which staff say would add to the stock of affordable housing in the town.

But local residents have described the plan for10 single-bedroom dwellings as a ‘gross overdevelopment’ of the site, which is zoned as R2 (‘low density residential’).

The proposal would see the creation of a ‘multi-dwelling development’ comprising of 10 one-bedroom units plus five car parking spaces requiring the demolition of the existing home at 116 Stuart Street.

As it has been submitted under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009, council officers say ‘the provisions of this SEPP prevail over any inconsistencies with Byron LEP 2014.’

The existing residence.
The existing residence.

3 of 10 units ‘affordable’

But buried in the detail of the report is the fact that just three of the 10 dwellings (30 per cent of the floor area) are actually proposed to be let as affordable housing.

Council officers admit in their report that 90 submissions were received objecting to the development on the grounds of heritage, bulk, scale, height, rear lane access and non-compliance with Council’s planning controls.

But they say that a revised plan submitted by the proponent, including replacing a proposed single structure at the rear of the property with two buildings, addresses most of the residents’ concerns.

Local resident Chris Cooney begs to disagree, describing it as ‘a gross overdevelopment of this site, which is in the Mullumbimby Heritage Conservation precinct,’ adding ‘it does not reflect the valuable heritage aspect of the neighbourhood.’

‘It could, if approved, set an unwarranted precedent for any other block in town. Think about a development like this next door to your place,’ Mr Cooney said.

He added that he was ‘very sceptical about the claims made by the proponent that these units will be “affordable” for moderate-income people as stated in the DA.

‘This proposal is coming in under the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP [but] I seriously have my doubts. It reeks of maximising profit to the detriment of the town,’ he said.

But council officers say in their report that, ‘the proposal will provide much needed accommodation for singles and couples within close walking distance to the commercial centre of Mullumbimby.’

They add that, ‘alternatives for the site could include two upmarket dwellings in a dual occupancy arrangement or a large house with a secondary dwelling. Both alternates would likely result in the same or greater development density on site to the proposal, but do little in terms of addressing the overall housing diversity needs of 10 residents of the Shire.’


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3 COMMENTS

  1. The end of Mullumbimby as we know it and I don’t feel fine! Just another Sydney developer wanting to turn a dollar at the expense of a communities needs, wishes or wants.

    With it’s heritage redesign and empathy pulling messages ‘ we need affordable housing’ don’t be fooled into setting a precedent here guys.

    Byron is overpriced and ruined and now they are setting their sights on the hinterland…

  2. Slight pover réaction don’t you think?
    At least they are single story in keeping with Mullum ‘heritage’ and not brick and tile ugly things.
    And at #116 they are right on the edge of the CBD. Perfect spot
    Maybe 10 is a couple too many but once they are built you probably won’t even know they are there, unless you live next door?
    Better then the monstrosity someone wants to build down the end of Station St
    Really, population will increase and if you want to build lots of houses build them in and around Mullum, not out in the hinterland where they can’t be supported with adequate infrastructure

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