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Byron Shire
December 1, 2021

Draft Bangalow plan prioritises ‘walkability’ over development

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Hans Lovejoy

A draft plan for Bangalow village will be on the table at Thursday’s Council meeting, and aims to set out residents’ aspirations for the village over the next 15 years.

If adopted, this forward planning strategy would sit beneath state government legislation and other council polices such as the LEP and DCP.

And for those curious as to whether that means anything, it does – a multitude of clear Council policies for its towns and villages provide a better legal defence from inappropriate development.

The draft Bangalow village plan was prepared by Council staff in conjunction with the Bangalow guidance group, comprising 19 community members.

The vision statement has been carried over from the 2003 settlement strategy, and reads: ‘A healthy environment to live, work and raise a family. A village rich in history and heritage. A socially resilient community. An economically viable centre, providing a range of services to the people of the community and the surrounding area. Nestled in the hills, surrounded by natural beauty.’

The plan’s main aspirations include tree-lined streets, attractive parks and public spaces to reinforce the rural village feel.

Staff applauded

Bangalow Chamber of Commerce president and guidance group member Jo Millar told The Echo, ‘There was a great commitment from Council staff to keep us informed… They’ve been really good and the process was fantastic.

‘Sometimes the length of times between meetings was longer than ideal,’ she said. Ms Millar also questioned whether all the experts who were employed were necessary. ‘But staff really want this process to work,’ she said.

‘It was abundantly clear that there are a number of things everyone wanted to see happen – one standout was a footpath to connect Rifle Range Road to the sportsfield.’

Rail corridor?

‘Also we all want something to happen with the rail corridor. It has been more than a year since Council were in negotiations with the rail authority, and the guidance group are keen to utilise the area.’

On page 43 of the report, it suggest reviewing plans of management (or similar) for the rail corridor, as well as the sportsfield, Bangalow parklands and showground.

Yet there appears little else regarding the rail corridor, which was closed by the Labor government in 2004 and is now managed by John Holland Corporation.

On page 67, the report says, ‘Another form of shared transport could come in the form of a reinstated rail service linking Byron Bay and the northern parts of the Shire to Bangalow. The use of the railway line for some form of rail transport would not preclude the multi-use of the corridor for other activities, like cycling.’

Housing density

As for housing density, the strategy says infill housing such as secondary dwellings ‘are encouraged in Bangalow over new greeenfield developments to limit urban sprawl and maintain the village’s walkability.’

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