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August 6, 2021

Large Bruns boarding house DA heads to court

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A proposal to build a mixed use commercial building, including a 48 self-contained room boarding house in the heart of Bayside in Brunswick Heads is heading to the Land and Environment court over a ‘deemed refusal’, after developer Kollective claimed the development application (DA) took too long to process. 

A deemed refusal occurs when a development application is not determined within the prescribed assessment period.

An artist’s rendering of The Kollective development proposed for Brunswick Heads. www.thecorsobrunswick.net.au

From the start of the pre-DA lodgement period, residents were concerned with Kollective’s Corso proposal, including its size and associated planning issues. 

Resident Lisa Sandstrom told The Echo a conciliation meeting between Council and the applicant is taking place on March 15, which will give residents a chance to address the many concerns they have.

She says there is a lack of infrastructure to support the development and that the ‘rooms will rent at expensive market rates in line with the rest of the area’. 

She says, ‘Despite being built under [NSW government] Affordability Housing legislation [SEPP], there is no measure of affordability’.

‘There is a woeful lack of parking, and traffic will pose serious safety issues. There is also a lack of integration with the community; it is totally out of character and incompatible. We will lose a commercial hub that has been promised to the community for close to 30 years. This DA completely compromises the planning that has underpinned this precinct’.

Matthew O’Reilly from the Brunswick Progress Association will speak at the conciliation meeting between Council and the applicant.

The Echo asked Mr O’Reilly, ‘Given Council’s recent court loss in Ocean Shores against a speculating developer, should Bruns residents be concerned that Council’s planning policies are unlikely to also hold up in court, and that their wishes will again be ignored, as per that last LEC case?’ 

‘There appears little, to no evidence, that the residents’ opposition was taken into account in that case – is that your understanding?’

Mr O’Reilly replied, ‘In many cases, Council can strengthen its LEP and DCP provisions. I have said so in the past, and would propose a number of changes should I be elected to Council. But in the case of the Bayside Bruns boarding house development proposal, it is all state rules that apply’.

‘What the community wants to see from Council is that Council fights the DA strongly in the Land and Environment Court.

Lip service 

‘We don’t want to see a half-hearted effort from Council just because some councillors have spoken in support of almost all of the [Kollective] developments in the past.

‘And yes, I agree completely that Council has only paid lip service to resident and community opposition. 

‘In some cases, they do not even pay lip service, but disregard community and residents’ concerns completely’.

Mr O’Reilly referred to a precedent at Broken Head that considered Land Use Objectives and Local Character: EMGA Mitchell McLennan Pty Limited v Byron Shire Council [2015] NSWLEC 1498.

Mr O’Reilly also added, ‘If the boarding house was only located on the second storey and there were commercial and retail premises on the ground floor, then it would be more likely to meet the zone objectives’.

‘There have been examples in the past where Byron Council has successfully argued that developments do not meet the zone objectives and the Land and Environment Court has agreed, such as Ardill Payne & Partners v Byron Shire Council [2019] NSWLEC 1125.

‘This is another example where Council must strongly argue that the proposed development, while permissible, does not meet the zone objectives’.

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