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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Fed Sheds DA a ‘structural tension’ with town masterplan: councillor

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Councillors have approved a masterplan for Federal that envisages a pedestrian and cycle-friendly town with a safe and vibrant Main Street running beside an upgraded park that forms the heart of the hinterland village.

But Council heard last week that the document will carry no weight when a controversial light industrial development proposed for the centre of the town comes before next week’s Council meeting for assessment.

The masterplan, which was approved at last week’s Council planning meeting, sets out 15 separate actions for the village. This includes an upgrade to the intersection of Binna Burra and Coorabell roads, a network of safe and pedestrian-friendly paths and cycleways, and a renewed focus on building affordable and sustainable housing in the town.

Independent councillor, Mark Swivel, sought to remind councillors and the community that the plan will have virtually no impact when it comes to determining individual development applications such as the ‘Fed Sheds’ proposal.

Fed Sheds will come before this week’s Council meeting for determination.

‘A masterplan has very little weight in a real-world sense,’ Cr Swivel told last week’s meeting.

‘It’s an expression of wishes and cannot be enforced by any court or other institution.

‘Next week we look at the Fed Sheds development, which has created an extraordinary degree of community division, and is a project that will occur right in the middle of the village.

‘With the greatest respect to all of the people involved in the masterplan process, the reality is that there’s a structural tension between the masterplan and that particular project.’

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 sewage 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 Development Application (DA) received 216 submissions while on public exhibition, including 64 submissions in favour and 152 against. It came before Council’s August planning meeting, but was deferred so that staff and councillors could consider social impact and specific queries raised with the proposal, and so that the developer could be requested to conduct a workshop with the local community.

Recommended approval

Staff have recommended that the development be approved, as they did on the first occasion, arguing that it complies with the planning rules for that part of the Shire, and that the building’s bespoke design would complement the streetscape and nearby heritage buildings.


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