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Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

Public submission period extended for Byron mega hotel DA

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Byron Council has given locals an extra week to have their say about the plan for a 146-room hotel and function centre in the heart of Byron Bay.

A council spokesperson this morning confirmed that the extension had been granted, after a number of locals expressed dismay at the lack of time to put in their submissions.

The developer behind Byron’s Mercato shopping mall is planning to build a sprawling $40m mixed-use development on the old Woolies site next door that significantly exceeds both height and floor space limits.

In a development application that was lodged just before Christmas, Mercato is proposing to build a 146-room hotel, function centre, and retail premises on the Jonson Street site.

An artist’s impression of the front of the 146-room hotel and function centre which Mercato wants to build on the old Woollies site on Jonson St Byron Bay

Named Essence of Byron, the three-storey development is topped with a private rooftop pool and bar that takes it more than 20 per cent above the 11.5m height limit for central Byron

The development’s 7,515 square metres of floor space also represents a 36 per cent exceedance of the floor-space ratio limit for this part of town.

A group of locals opposed to the plan are calling on others with similar views to register their opposition to the plan with Byron Shire Council.

‘This dreadfully inappropriate building is proposed to replace the old Woolworths site in the heart of Byron and has no character or any heritage elements to fit comfortably in our town,’ one of the residents, Maria Wood said.

‘It looks like a 1970s office block, is 2 stories right onto the footpath with no setback at all.

‘It would be great if the green roof was accessible to the whole town as an extra park or public space but this is something for the hotel only and dominates the street without a setback.

‘There is no adequate streetscaping.

‘This DA … has absolutely gone under the radar. It wouldn’t be allowed in Bangalow or Mullum as it just does not suit the character of the town in design or materials or presence, proportion or setback or greenscaping to the street’, she said.

A spokesperson for the developer said that only five per cent of the building’s footprint was above the height limit.

He also said that those components that did exceed the limit were set back from the road and would not be easily visible.

The proposed floor area was ‘necessary to support a viable hotel of this character’.

‘A comprehensive assessment has been undertaken, which demonstrates the proposal will not result in adverse built amenity impacts and will provide positive social and economic impacts for the Shire,’ the spokesperson said.

Those wishing to make a submission on the proposal can email council at [email protected]or call customer service on 02 6626 7000.

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