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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

New strategy by sneaky out-of-town developers

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Azalea Street, Mullumbimby, has always been a quiet tree-lined street, beloved of walkers.

It is a narrow cul-de-sac street with no footpaths, so many walkers and school children use the road every day. So far, that has not been a problem.

Sadly, that is all about to change.

In the last few years developers, some from out of state, and none of them living in the area, have started buying up houses in the street and subdividing their blocks.

Not content with the massive profits from that, they have now started applying for strata titles to squeeze two houses onto blocks that are not large enough to officially subdivide.

Under Byron planning laws, a minimum of 600 square metres per house is required for a residential subdivision. But two strata houses can be built on just 800 square metres.

And Byron planners have just approved the first of these on our street – two 3-bedroom homes to be built on far less than 1,200 square metres. And two developers are poised ready to go with applications for five further three-bedroom strata title homes. This would add between fourteen and twenty-one additional cars to this narrow, footpath-less street, which is already pretty full of parked cars. With the number of school children walking on the road, we fear the extra traffic will pose an unacceptable level of danger.

All these new homes will be for rent, none at ‘affordable’ prices. For example, one of these developers is about to rent a two-bedroom home, euphemistically described as a three-bedroom home because he has converted the garage into an extra bedroom, for $750 per week.

We appreciate the need for more housing, particularly affordable housing, in the Shire. But does it need to come at the expense of the charm and the character of old, established neighbourhoods? There are many other corners of the town like us, offering green and leafy walks to residents. Are they all destined to be destroyed by developer greed?

Please, councillors and council planners – is it really your idea that the entirety of Mullum becomes one great homogenised estate of jam-packed houses?

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