Tasteful, reasonable and useful? Or noisy, oversized and intrusive?
This is the question at the heart of the debate over a light industrial development that has been proposed for the heart of Federal.
Coming before Byron Council’s planning meeting, the $2.8 million ‘Fed Sheds’ project would see the old house directly opposite Federal Hall/Jaspers Corner replaced with three buildings housing a total of eight light industrial tenancies.
The two-storey development, which lies within the Federal Village Heritage Conservation Area, would also include 26 parking spaces, two loading docks and its own storm water and sewerage treatment facilities.
Food and drink-related premises would not be permitted on the site, in a bid to limit the impact on neighbours and the surrounding environment. The developer behind the proposal is listed as Davgav Pty Ltd.
The Development Application (DA) received 216 submissions while on public exhibition, including 64 submissions in favour and 152 against.
Those opposed to the plan have raised a wide range of objections.
Featuring prominently among them is the argument that building a light industrial development in the very heart of Federal will significantly degrade the town’s village character and heritage values.
Staff support DA
However, Council staff say the proposal complies with the planning rules for that part of the Shire, and its heritage advisor found that the bespoke design of the project complements the streetscape and nearby heritage buildings.
‘The proposed development is considered sympathetic to the context and is not likely to have any adverse impacts upon the setting of the Federal School of Arts and the Holy Trinity Anglican Church,’ Council’s heritage advisor said in the Council staff report
‘I do not consider that a detailed referral is required in this case and endorse the findings of Weir Phillips SOHI’ [the heritage consultant hired by the developer].
Other areas of concern for locals include parking and noise impacts, the overshadowing of adjacent properties, and the risk to local creeks from run-off.
Some residents have also argued that the site should have been used for desperately-needed affordable housing, rather than light industrial businesses.
Independent Councillor, Mark Swivel, also said the project should not be approved because Council and the community were in the midst of creating a Masterplan for the village and this process had not been taken into account by developers.
But Council staff say that all relevant issues raised have been addressed by way of 68 proposed conditions of consent, and have recommended that councillors approve the DA at this week’s meeting.
‘The proposal will provide suitable working areas for those involved in light industrial activities to lease in the hinterland areas as opposed to having to find factory space in the traditional urban areas of the Shire,’ Council staff said in their report.