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Byron Shire
August 16, 2022

Bilambil Heights residents object to planning proposal being referred to Minister

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Residents of Bilambil Heights have raised concerns over the Tweed Shire Council’s decision to allow the Planning Proposal (PP20/000) for 1 Walmsleys Road, Bilambil Heights to be referred to the Minister for Planning and Environment. 

The proposal combines two smaller sites for housing development into one larger area. 

This will ‘enable the developer’s objective of constructing four blocks of units containing 92 individual units on the site,’ said Stephen Bailey, who was speaking on behalf of the residents. 

Planning Proposal area (PP20/0003) for 1 Walmsleys Road, Bilambil Heights

At the 16 June council meeting the decision had been deferred for further consideration after residents had raised concerns over the impact of increased traffic and the impact on the amenity of the area. 

Mr Bailey told councillors that the Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA), paid for by the developer, was inadequate and that ‘an accurate estimate of the existing traffic load on this route is 481 daily vehicle movements. The project planned for 1 Walmsleys Road would generate a daily increase of 440 vehicle movements. This estimate does not include flow to and from commercial facilities at the site.’

The development ‘will impose upon a massive increase in traffic on the neighbourhood. Anyone living in Warringa Drive, Nabilla Street, Walmsleys Road, Malua Terrace or Bolwarra Avenue will tell you that these streets are particularly unsuited for a development of this kind. All the streets are steep with tight corners. Visibility is extremely poor entering Nabilla Street from Warringa Drive. Down Walmsleys Road from the top the corner into Nabilla Street is completely blind,’ he said.

‘Local residents have objected to this project since it was first conceived because it is out of character with the existing subdivision and it would have significant negative social and environmental impacts on the neighbourhood’.

All councillors voted in favour of referring the planning proposal to the Minister for Planning and Environment at their 7 July meeting. 

Tweed Shire Mayor Chris Cherry. Photo supplied

Mayor responds

Responding to questions from The Echo about the decision Tweed Mayor, Chris Cherry, said, ‘I know the objectors were upset with Councils recent decision to allow the Planning Proposal to reconfigure the existing residential zoned land to move forward. I did support it being progressed as this proposal has been around a very long time and does not increase the residential zoned land, just conglomerates it, which results in a configuration of the environmental zones on the site which will allow for better protection of these conservation areas. 

‘The traffic concerns raised by the residents are valid and that is why the proponent provided supplementary information as to the traffic impacts. The areas of the site already zoned residential have not increased so the traffic impacts are not more with this reshuffle of zones. The traffic impacts will be looked at in detail when a proposal comes back to Council in the future about what to build on the site – at the development application stage.  

‘The question of whether a proposed development for the site is in character will also come into consideration at the development application stage,’ she said. 

‘I know people are concerned but this is not the time for these considerations to be the main focus, that will come later and those issues: traffic, character site slopes etc will be looked at to determine any application in the future and people can be confident that they will be fairly and thoroughly looked at then.’

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