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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Large ‘affordable housing’ Bangalow DA before Council

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A contentious plan to build 15 residential units on the former Telstra site on Lismore Rd, Bangalow looks set to get the green light at this Thursday’s meeting after the developer amended its plans while simultaneously planning legal action.

The proposal, which features a mix of one, two and three bedroom units, is the latest ‘affordable housing’ development from developer The Kollective which has half-a-dozen other, similar projects across the Shire.

The application will come before Byron Council’s first Planning and Development meeting for the year this Thursday, with staff recommending approval.

However, scores of residents continue to oppose the development, arguing that will create overcrowding, be out of character with the surrounding area, and have insufficient green space and parking.

‘This is Bangalow, not Alexandria,’ said Ben Gilmour, who lives a few doors down from the proposed development with his young family.

‘I understand that there’s a need for places to live in the Byron Shire, but many of us escaped the city because we felt suffocated by the claustrophobic nature of life there. We don’t want that recreated here.’

Before L&E court

After lodging its original Development Application (DA) in April last year, The Kollective lodged a Class 1 action in the Land & Environment Court (LEC) the following month for what it described as Council’s ‘deemed refusal’ of the application.

In response to this move, Council produced a statement setting out its concerns with the proposal.

These included that it had inadequate light access, exceeded the maximum height level for the area, and created privacy and overshadowing issues for neighbours.

At a subsequent meeting late last year The Kollective offered to amend its proposal, reducing the total number of units from 17 to 15, redesigning the five studio apartments, and breaking the largest of the proposed buildings into two separate structures.

Soon after, Council received legal advice from Marsden Solicitors about the likely costs of legal action (up to $28,000) and their prospects of success.

Staff subsequently recommended that councillors approve the proposal.

‘It is considered that the amended proposal, which now substantially complies with relevant regulatory requirements, is appropriate for the site, and consistent with the character of the locality,’ Council’s major project planner Rob Van Iersel and Legal Counsel Ralph James said in a report to Council.

‘The amended proposal provides a better balance between increased housing diversity, which is lacking in Bangalow, and maintaining the character of the village.’

Inner-city style?

But Mr Gilmour disagrees.

‘I would like to see more will from Council to push back against this inner-city style development,’ he said.

‘Council’s feeling pressure to increase housing in the area, but I don’t think packing people in like this is the solution. I think the solution is to loosen the regulations for building appropriate housing on the large swathes of rural land that are no longer being used for farming.’

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  1. Pardon? This seems bizarre.
    So this development has been approved by Council on the basis of the report by Council’s Major Project Planner Rob Van Iersel and Legal Counsel Ralph James, stating “the amended proposal……. now substantially complies with relevant regulatory requirements” – why only ‘substantially complies’? Shouldn’t this be ‘wholly complies’? If not, what is the point of having all these development regulations if they can be ignored at will, and then not enforced by Council?

  2. Developers seem to think that if they say their development is for “affordable” housing, then it should be passed regardless of the rules said development breaks. Affordable for whom? And then the bullyng tsctics of taking Council to court because they can’t get their way. Their sole interest is in making lots of money.

  3. Affordable? Really? Affordable for whom?! And just how long will it be affordable? It may be “affordable” for the first lot of owners but this aspect is soon forgotten and the market will prevail. It all sounds like the usual developer smoke and mirrors trick we’ve all come to expect. Honestly, they think we’re country hicks that wouldn’t know our arses from our elbows. Go back to Sydney or Melbourne or where ever the hell you’re from!

  4. “many of us escaped the city because we felt suffocated by the claustrophobic nature of life there. We don’t want that recreated here.”
    When you come here you don’t get to close the gates behind you. Bangalow has already been wasted on strutting supercilious urban hipsters anyway. The real people were priced out of the market long ago. At least there will be a few jobs in construction for those that remain.

  5. Shame on you Councillors, have you been and inspected the site? 15 units (dog boxes) on a postage stamp. One road in and one road out, onto busy Lismore Road. This development is directly in my back yard. I have lived in my home for over 22 years, I am not against progress in the right environment. Every day I take my life into my own hands, it takes me 10 minutes to get out of my driveway with the help of my husband as you can’t see the oncoming traffic due to all the cars parked on the side of the road. It is supposedly a 50km zone but I guarantee the cars are doing 80km by the time they pass my property. This has been duly noted by the RTA as a black spot, I have witnessed children nearly getting run over as they cross Lismore Rd to get their school bus. 15 units, just say about 25 cars, not to mention visitors. (There will be no room for parking on this tiny site). I bet if any of you lived on my property this would not go ahead. You, Byron Council refuse to pay 25K in the Land and Environment court, BUT you were willing to pay over 50K for a monument at a round about, only to pay more $$$ to have it removed. There are 95 submissions against this site, you only needed 50. Who do you work for? the people of the shire or the developers.


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