18.9 C
Byron Shire
May 19, 2021

Planning approval granted for Lennox Rise

Latest News

Police appeal for help to find missing teenagers

Police are appealing for public assistance to help locate the boy and a girl who were last seen in Alstonville on Monday.

Other News

Go straight to the source on the Future Water Project

Rous County Council has announced a series of information days to be held this month where the community can ‘drop in’ and find out more about the revised draft Future Water Project 2060.

Development of the Belongil Spit

Jo Faith, Newtown I was gobsmacked when I read that the ‘Greens’ mayor’s parting gift was to aid privatisation of land...

Business calls for Tweed train tracks to be kept ignored

More than 800 people had signed a petition calling for a new rail trail to be built next to, rather than in place of, the existing disused railway line running through the shire.

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

Proposed quarry expansion opposed by the farmers of Bentley

You would need to be a pretty tough customer to come up against the Bentley farmers, yet, that is exactly what Rob and Sarah McKenzie, the operators of the Bentley Quarry, what they say is a local, family-operated business, are doing.

Detail from proposed Lennox Rise development.

Lennox Head’s explosive population growth shows no sign of slowing down, with the approval at Ballina Shire Council’s last meeting of the latest planning proposal for Lennox Rise.

This is the development previously known as ‘The Outlook’. Before that it was the Henderson farm. It covers the land west and north of the playing fields at Epiq, plus another parcel adjoining Byron Bay Road further north.

The latest modification to the proposed arrangement of lot layouts and roads protects a heritage drystone wall, which is now intended to be retained within council managed public land.

Moving the motion with the support of Cr Eoin Johnston, Cr Sharon Cadwallader acknowledged the work done to date, and said the staff’s ‘recommendation to approve today would be right.’

Lots and superlots

Matt Wood from Ballina Council’s planning and environmental health division said that since the previous version of the proposal, the number of standard residential lots had been reduced from 159 to 138, but with a further 11 superlots to be further broken up, ‘there might be more than 138 lots at the end, we don’t know yet.’

Lennox Rise proposed development and surrounding areas.

Cr Ben Smith said, ‘I liked all the changes, they were all pretty rational. It all looked really good.’

Mayor David Wright said, ‘When you drive past there it’s a difficult site, always has been.’

He congratulated himself and the council on their earlier decision ‘to put Hutley Drive where it is rather than through that estate.’

The motion to accept the modified plan was carried unanimously.

This discussion was followed immediately by another motion relating to Lennox Rise, this time to apply a minimum 450 square metre lot size to parts of the development,

Speaking in support, Cr Cadwallader said, ‘Unfortunately, large lots are a thing of the past. Clever designs are putting more on smaller blocks. With our population that is what we need.

‘This is a much improved design which preserves the heritage aspect of the site,’ she said. ‘I think it’s worthy of support today. It’s consistent with the Strategic Planning Framework that’s applicable to the site.’

Integrated development or individual council lots?

Cr Keith Williams spoke against lot sizes smaller than 600 square metres, suggesting that an integrated development approach was superior (where developers take responsibility for managing small residential lots within larger developments), rather than it being council’s responsibility.

He also noted that ‘green space can suffer’ by allowing developers to subdivide to 450 square metres.

‘We need to understand – and this is the argument I’ve had in this place for many years – that planning proposals are entirely at our discretion,’ said Cr Williams.

Cr Keith Williams. Photo David Lowe.

‘There is no weight of government bearing down on us, to say you must approve this. This is not a DA. They do not have the right to do this unless we give it to them.

‘What we do by giving it to them, essentially, allows them to create wealth out of that land development process.

‘What we should not do, is end up with the risk of badly designed, non-integrated developments that are done piecemeal, which is what 450 lots mean to me.’

Cr Williams said that if people were jammed into places without the ‘thoughtfulness’ that goes into an integrated development, questions arose such as ‘How is this going to work? How do we get people to enjoy this living space? How do we provide common areas?’

He said that 450 square metre individual blocks lacked integrated common areas.

‘If there are common areas, they’ll then be public land and we will be maintaining them. That’s an issue, that they are not then part of the development and they are not maintained by a body corporate. If we require these to be integrated developments, that’s part of the process, and that’s part of the thinking that needs to occur, by the developer,’ he said.

‘For too long we’ve looked at regional plans that say “You must allow”. I think it’s appalling that the regional growth strategy is that we should approve 40% of lots at less than this size.’

NSW government rules

Matt Wood confirmed that the state government has a target in the regional plan which is 40% infill, to encourage higher density.

Cr Williams said that while he accepted the state target, he didn’t accept the way to achieve it was with individual 450 square metre lots.

‘We end up creating more problems,’ he said. ‘I’m quite happy to defer this and have a talk about it.’

He invited his fellow councillors to pause a decision and have a longer discussion about the issue, but none of them took him up on it.

Everyone wants a piece of lovely Lennox Head. Photo David Lowe.

Cr Ben Smith said, ‘I’m not a fan of the 450 square metre lot, but there’s a reason for them, and we can’t change state government rules.

‘There is a rationale, they haven’t just chucked as many 450 square lots as they can, they have thought about it,’ he said.

‘Housing is getting expensive, and there are some people where that specific lot will be very appropriate,’ he said.

‘Maybe they have one car and don’t want backyards and don’t want to deal with strata?’

Small blocks or flats?

Cr Phillip Meehan agreed, saying smaller lots were part of the reality of modern housing, and a better alternative than blocks of flats, which ‘our community doesn’t want to see.’

He argued infilling was a better alternative than urban sprawl.

Taking a trip down memory lane, Mayor David Wright said, ‘I was sitting in this chamber 30 years ago and we were fighting for 1200 square metre lots, and that came back to 800.

‘There have been big changes since those days. There is a place for 450s. People can choose or not to live there.’

Deputy Mayor Sharon Cadwallader agreed, saying, ‘This is the way of the future, whether we like it or not, this is where it’s going.’

In the end, the motion to allow the smaller blocks was carried, with only Crs Keith Williams and Jeff Johnson voting against.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Wow. we have a story.
    Lennox Head’s population growth trundles along when the latest planning proposal for Lennox Rise rises up against the Nation’s national recession. Just who will buy in when Josh Frydenberg has planned a $250 payment to Pensioners next March? That means the Scott Morrison government wants pensioners to spend that money next April to lift the economy when the next federal budget is in May.
    The COVID-19 recession is it not planned for the long term?

  2. Good on you Keith Williams OMG 450 sq metre allotments….will this debatable decision save our diminishing bush for wildlife or public open spaces ??? Maybe just more little boxes on the hillside….little boxes made of ticky tacky….State Govt’s SHOULD NOT BE MANDATING WHAT COUNCILS DO ? WHY DO THEY JUST ACCEPT THIS…? YOU NEED TO FIGHT IT. We ALL need to fight to get rid of State Govts in this land. Don’t give up Keith,I can’t see many positives from this ecologically ?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Keith Duncan, Pimlico Thank God this corruption-riddled Berejiklian/Barilaro government does not have a majority in the NSW upper house. Environmentalists in NSW have just breathed...

Man jailed over South Golden Beach dog shooting

A local builder who shot his neighbour’s dog with a bow and arrow in South Golden Beach has been jailed after unsuccessfully appealing his conviction in the District Court.

Greens MP calls for greater workplace safety in government

Mia Armitage Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith has joined calls for improved workplace safety in government after accusations against a Byron Shire resident of...

Angsts, hopes and visions

Jo Faith, Newtown I love The Echo and all of the folk that passionately contribute their angsts, hopes and visions. How do The (struggling) Echo...