Ben Franklin MLC (Nationals) has broken ranks with his NSW coalition party and has expressed concern about the 290-lot West Byron subdivision that will soon be before the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP).
The Echo asked if Mr Franklin supported this development in general, notwithstanding the ‘failures and insufficient information’ supplied by the applicant.
The Echo asked: ‘Is this a good proposal for Byron Bay, regardless of the many issues raised by residents and council? It appears throughout the process, the NSW planning minister and his department have intervened to ensure the project will happen while ignoring the wishes of the community and Council.’
He replied, ‘By 2036, the Byron Shire local government area is expected to be home to an additional 5,550 people, and an extra 3,150 more homes will be needed to meet the needs of these future residents.
‘However, like many other local residents, I have genuine and significant concerns about the proposed West Byron subdivision.
‘I note that the Department of Planning and Environment (DoPE) has no role in assessing or determining the current application. This application will be assessed by Council staff and determined by the independent Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP).
‘I also note Council’s request that the JRPP hold a public meeting before they make their determination to allow them to fully appreciate all community views on the issue. I strongly support that request and believe that it would give them a firm understanding of community feeling on the West Byron development proposal.’