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Byron Shire
December 3, 2021

Bid stalls multi-unit plan for Mullum

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An artist's impression of one of the proposed 10 units for the house block in Stuart Street, Mullumbimby. Image Byron Shire Council
An artist’s impression of one of the proposed 10 units for the house block in Stuart Street, Mullumbimby. Image Byron Shire Council

Luis Feliu

Byron shire councillors opposed to a controversial 10-unit development on the site of an old fibro cottage in Stuart Street, Mullumbimby, have lodged a rescission motion in a bid to overturn last month’s narrow approval.

The four councillors backing the local community against the plan for the development, on a single-house block, are Crs Simon Richardson, Duncan Dey, Basil Cameron and Rose Wanchap.

The rescission motion will be dealt with at Byron Shire Council’s meeting of 4 August.

Surprisingly, Labor-affiliated Cr Paul Spooner unusually sided with the pro-development and National Party faction of Crs Sol Ibrahim, Di Woods, Chris Cubis and Alan Hunter in approving the contentious development, which council staff say would add to the stock of ‘affordable’ housing in the town, but locals argue would set a precedent for increased density.

Cr Ibrahim’s amended motion for approval with conditions was seconded by Cr Spooner.

Almost 100 objecting submissions were overruled in the approval, as well as more than 1,000 signatures on an online petition.

Mullum resident Daniel Smallwood urged continuing community lobbying against the development till the rescission motion was debated early next month.

Mr Smallwood told Echonetdaily the plan did not pass or comply with the character test in Clause 16A of the SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policy 2011), which urges consideration must be given to whether the design of the development is compatible with the character of the local area.

The minimal floor space requirements for the units is just 50 square metres.

Mr Smallwood says the units are two storey, but ‘the developer calls them one storey with a mezzanine (which includes the bedroom, study and 90cm-wide bathroom)’.

‘Mullumbimby local area is not comprised of units,’ he said.

‘It comprises of single dwellings, and granny flats, not ten-unit complexes. This does not fit in with the local character of the area.

‘We acknowledge there is a lack of affordable housing in Mullumbimby, and something needs to be done. But this proposal is not the answer.

‘It’s not what the community wants or how they want to live.

‘The developers believe that building this development, will allow locals to stay in the area and not be pushed out by city folk with more money.

‘But I beg to differ. My family and I live very close to where this development is proposed and if it goes ahead, we are selling up and moving out of town. Our neighbours are doing the same thing,’ Mr Smallwood said.

Other residents have described the plan for the single-bedroom dwellings as a ‘gross over-development’ of the site,  zoned as R2 (‘low density residential’).

The buildings plus five car parking spaces will see the demolition of the existing home at 116 Stuart Street.

It has been submitted under the contentious State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009, which council officers say ‘prevails over any inconsistencies with Byron LEP 2014’.

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.

See previous Echonetdaily stories at https://www.echo.net.au/2016/06/affordable-units-mullumbimby-set-approval/ and https://www.echo.net.au/2016/04/mullum-unit-block-plan-sparks-outrage/

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  1. The house was surrounded and picketed. There seemed to be an offence that had been there for a long time. Lights were out and the windows were darkened and shaded. This case seems a bit shady.
    A lone green tree stood there in anger in defiance in the front yard. You could see the bark.
    Several green heads appeared watching in front of the pickets as the offence could be clearly seen protecting the house and tree.
    The sergeant took his loudspeaker as he was not a loud speaker: “Ok you in there. We have you surrounded.” The tree did not move.
    This was to be a stand-off.


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