290-lot West Byron subdivision rejected by council

West Byron DA

A well attended extraordinary meeting last Thursday (July 6) saw councillors unanimously vote to reject a massive housing/industrial proposal on Ewingsdale Road.

All councillors spoke against the West Byron application by Queensland-based company Villa World and Sydney-based developer Terry Agnew, citing failures of consent and insufficient information supplied. The DA is also opposed by Council staff, but council’s submission will be sent to the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP), who will have the final say.

Even Nationals Party aligned Cr Alan Hunter, who originally voted for the development to be handed to the state govt for ‘consideration’ in the previous council term, said the developers needed to ‘pull their finger out.’

During public access, resident and farmer Tony Flick told the gallery there has been a longtime issue with treated effluent flowing onto his land on Ewingsdale Road from the West Byron sewage treatment plant (STP).

‘This discharge has been escalating rapidly owing to he increase in development in the Byron Bay area. A 35 acre portion of our farmland is now in such a degraded state that grasses won’t grow there anymore. ‘Most private landowners would have taken legal action against council many years ago, but this is not the fix. It would only take funds away from our degraded and inadequate infrastructure. Council started to work towards reducing the impact of this on our land, although the process has taken two years and there is no end in sight. It is time that the focus is taken away from development at any cost, and [we] start caring for the long term residents and ratepayers who have built and supported this community.’

Additionally Melaleuca Drive resident Tim Hochgrebe told the gallery that he has not been presented with plans showing how two metres of fill will sit alongside Melaleuca Drive and his property. ‘There are no answers,’ he said and also agreed with Cr Ndiaye that drainage had not been addressed.

Later in debate councillors stressed the point that public submissions will add weight to council’s opposition and encouraged everyone who is concerned to get involved.

They asked staff if the applicant had responded to the council’s recently approved West Byron DCP. Staff replied that no offical reply had been received other than an acknowledgement.

As previously reported by Echonetdaily, the government has intervened throughout the process to ensure the applicants get the planning outcome they want, despite strong resident opposition. The State planning department amended Byron’s LEP and allowed the developer to submit a DA without a DCP. Additionally NSW planning minister Anthony Roberts also indicated he would intervene if the development did not proceed to his liking. 

Failures and insufficient information

Nevertheless, Council’s response to the JRPP raises concerns of failures to address key elements of the proposal, including land owners consent (from private, Crown and Council), and a ‘failure to adequately address the design principles as outlined within the approved Byron Development Control Plan 2014 Chapter 8 West Byron Urban Release Area including all matters included in E8.10.’

Councillors say there is ‘Insufficient information to enable an informed consideration of the location detail or truck movement (including time frames) concerning the use of fill on the site, as well as the lack of understanding of impacts of fill and resultant drainage on adjoining neighbour’s properties, SEPP 14 wetlands and Belongil creek catchment area.’

As for environmental considerations, councillors say there is a failure to adequately address potential impacts on the threatened koala population and enhance threatened species and habitat. This includes the existing Wallum froglet populations.

The submission will also reference land holders, and ‘take into account concerns on the capacity of the receiving environment of the Byron STP for the extra sewage effluent that would be generated by development of West Byron.’

‘DoPE [the planning department] note that overload of the receiving environment has been an issue for landholders on the flow path from the STP to Belongil Creek, since sewage from the old South Byron STP was diverted to the current Byron STP a decade ago.’

Council have also requested the JRPP hold ‘a public briefing meeting after the exhibition has ended, and invite any person who made a submission to present, before the assessment report is finalised.’

The DA is available at

For more info on JRPP visit

4 responses to “290-lot West Byron subdivision rejected by council”

  1. Christopher Hungerland says:

    One anticipates that: (A) The JRPP will approve the plan as shown; (B) All councillors will huff and puff; (C) The project will go ahead as shown; (D) Un-named parties will have their bank accounts enlarged. And, by the way, it seems that the published plan shows only ONE point of access/egress to the proposed development, and this is on to a two-lane Ewingsdale Road . . . TWO LANES? ARE YOU KIDDING?

  2. robin Harrison says:

    As I understand it state approval for the West Byron Twin Town is dependant on the bypass going in. All council need do is revoke the pointless bypass to nowhere.

  3. Tom Sjolund says:

    Tower Holdings who have development plans and approvals for Great Keppel Island has by September to come up with $80 Million to keep their leases on the island. Tower Holdings seems to have a problem with proper process. They have held the Capricorn Coast to ransom over the last 10 years by closing down the Resort they purchased and it now stands there as the biggest eyesore on the most beautiful island. Not only that, they were given notice at the beginning of the year to do something about their lease of the Underwater Observatory which is about to fall into the fringing reef, near Great Keppel, to this day nothing has been done.
    Don’t let Tower Holdings into your beautiful part of the world.

  4. Ginty says:

    Thank you Council.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsor Brunswick Picture House.