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Byron Shire
January 18, 2022

Councillors bastardising our planning system

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Affordable housing has become the justification for inappropriate development in inappropriate places.

It was the mantra used to justify West Byron, Habitat, allowing second dwellings throughout rural and urban areas, waiving developer contributions and a myriad of developments.

The mantra is that we have to ignore the strategies, rules and proper planning to allow smaller blocks and higher density developments wherever the developers want.

As a consequence Byron is undergoing unprecedented growth, faster than ever before, and prices are still skyrocketing.

The trouble is that it is insatiable, the demand can never be satisfied because Byron’s rising house prices are driven by the Sydney housing bubble, negative gearing and the high returns from holiday letting.

It is the one issue that the Greens, the ALP and the Nationals are united on. They all spruik the mantra of affordable housing to justify developments in areas where our Local Environment Plan (LEP) prohibits it.

They have bastardised and corrupted our planning system because they want to have the power to do deals with developers and decide what goes where.

The Rural Land Use Strategy was the latest example of Byron shire councillor’s push for unfettered development (10 new West Byrons and 10 new Ewingsdales), and their willingness to over-ride even their own lax rules to satisfy developers.

For the past nine years Byron shire Council has been required to prepare a growth management strategy to identify where the housing needed to satisfy our growth projections for the next 25 years should go.

This needs to be prepared in an open public process and should be the basis for changing our LEP and identifying genuine affordable housing opportunities.

We need to demand that councillors we vote for commit to abiding by our Local Environment Plan, along with the constraints on the scale and density of development it allows.

They must prepare the long overdue Growth Management Strategy before identifying any more land for urban development or increased housing density.

Don’t let them get away with bastardising our planning system and using the affordable housing mantra to turn Byron into another gold coast.

Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay

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