A member of Council’s Heritage Advisory Committee believes that there are grounds for refusal of the Mullum affordable housing project on Stuart Street.
The DA for ten one-bedroom units with five carparking spaces was given the green light at the June 29 council meeting; however, it will be again presented for debate and a vote at the upcoming August 4 meeting after a rescission motion was lodged.
Len Bates, who is the Mullum community representative on the council committee, claims both the Local Environment Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (DCP) have detailed heritage conservation provisions, which stipulate no units and only single-storey homes in Mullum’s heritage precinct.
‘The Land and Environment court has upheld these provisions with other similar cases,’ he said.
Mr Bates claims this development will begin the erosion of the heritage of the town and that other areas for affordable housing should be considered just outside the CBD that are also within walking distance.
The proposal was given passage by Council owing to the affordable housing provision within the State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPP), which stipulate just 30 per cent must be for affordable housing, while the rest can be sold at market rate.
But mayoral candidate Cr Spooner believes there are no planning grounds for refusing the Stuart Street development, ‘including conservation or heritage considerations.’
He said, ‘It would mean either the developer walks away or takes the decision to court.
Yet when why he thought that, Cr Spooner replied, ‘In regards to Koho [the developer], I have no idea what they are intending to do if this gets refused and neither is it an argument from the right [wing]. It just makes economic sense.’
Cr Spooner said, ‘How is fewer units being developed a better outcome for affordability? What’s worse, by saying no to everything we will end up with more expensive unaffordable housing being proposed.’
‘Current Green councillors and ex-Green councillor Rose Wanchap have all argued against it happening.’
Cr Spooner said, ‘Is Mr Bates proposing that lower- income people should only be living on the fringes of our towns as modern-day fringe dwellers? I would never support such a discriminatory policy. From a purely economic point of view, you do not propose affordable housing to make money. There are much easier and better ways of doing that as a developer. Otherwise, we would be inundated by proposals.’
Mr Bates also claims Council’s Heritage adviser/consultant did not address the proposal adequately, but staff replied that LEP allows for a maximum height of nine metres, ‘which provides for two storey buildings.’ Council’s director of sustainable environment and economy, Shannon Burt said, ‘Provided the design is sympathetic to heritage conservation areas, the DCP allows for new developments.’