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Byron Shire
June 18, 2021

Editorial: Not confused enough

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The Local Strategic Planning Statement

Hans Lovejoy, editor

What do bureaucrats do if they want to simplify complex planning laws? Create another one!

In an effort to consolidate Council and state government policies and laws that constrain the never-ending appetite for building new stuff, a new ‘overarching’ document has been foisted upon all NSW Councils by the NSW Liberal-Nationals government. 

It’s called a Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS), and when adopted, will work alongside other such masterworks as the NSW Government’s North Coast Regional Plan and Council’s Community Strategic Plan (CSP), Local Environment Plans (LEP) and Development Control Plans (DCP).

While the Local Strategic Planning Statement has just wrapped up its public exhibition phase, it’s described as a ‘live’ document, meaning that it will be tinkered with and refined at the whim of councillors and planning staff. So there will be more opportunity to look closer at it in coming years.

Why does this matter? Because if you and your neighbours are faced with large inappropriate development, these are the documents to know, both in the pre-DA stage and in any Land & Environment Court case.

Along with this suite of growth management strategies (also called ‘instruments’) are ‘place based strategic plans’.

Council planning staff say within their LSPS materials that Place-based plans for Byron Bay, Mullumbimby and Bangalow have been completed.

‘More recently in February 2020, our Business and Industrial Lands Strategy was completed. As other strategies and plans become finalised, such as the Byron Shire Residential Strategy, new priority actions will be included in the LSPS’.

Fun fact: A DCP has little to no weight with court rulings.

As the public discovered in last year’s Land & Environment decision (bit.ly/3fD7Uvb) that favoured a contentious tourist hotel at 4 Marvell Street, Byron Bay, place based strategic plans are not always regarded as the final word – it’s planning staff’s opinion and ‘flexibility’ that can also determine planning decisions.

While acknowledging the town’s masterplan, Commissioner Jenny Smithson also said that ‘cl 4.6 [Exceptions to development standards] exists in the LEP to allow flexibility to vary standards, subject to compliance with the requirements of that clause’.

She wrote, ‘It would have no work to do if the Council did not allow any variations on the basis of the potential adverse precedent of varying development standards, per se’.

Putting aside the attractive idea of Council planning staff having no work to do, the complex and chaotic world of planning appears to serve the few, not many.

But then, the few make money from the many by selling/renting them a place to live that hopefully isn’t a fire trap or structurally compromised.

So isn’t that a good thing?


The Local Strategic Planning Statement is available at www.yoursaybyronshire.com.au/LSPS.

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  1. Banjo Patterson in his last two lines of Clancy of the Overflow wrote:
    “While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal —
    But I doubt he’d suit the office, Clancy, of `The Overflow’.”
    Banjo was describing the office, the bureau, and the writing desks of the bureaucrats.
    You can almost smell the stale air of the small office where bureaucrats are not born but they are brought up and bred among the files and filing draws and cabinets of papers and reports and dossiers and they inhale cigarette smoke between reading reports and more reports and then in writing they write reams of drafts of reports that will become a second draft and then a third draft and the finished product will never see the light of day. It will be file and marked “General Reports”. These gentleman are dressed in white shirt and old school tie and in a dark blue suit. The place is a conservative place with a photo of the Queen on the wall and on the desk for mailing is a letter beginning with four words “Dear Sir or Madam”
    Dear Sir or Madam, and then formal writing such as “I have been informed by my superior to communicate with you on this day about a certain report that is in your possession, namely the NSW State Delineation of Consternation Draft Report, Section 5 and that my superior would like to bring to your attention the paragraphs 2a and 3c on page 43.
    Is it any wonder then that to simplify planning laws, they create another one and make things even more complex.

  2. There’s a “never-ending appetite for building new stuff”because there’s a never-ending supply of more people. Period.

  3. Aged Aquarius just fell for another
    ‘hole in the flag’ my preposterous
    dumplings. Clancy agrees too.


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