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July 20, 2024

Fingal residents reject controversial 10pm trading hours for Fingal Store site

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The Fingal Head General Store has been closed following illegal development at the site in 2021. Photo Aslan Shand

The illegal development that took place at the Fingal Store site led to the closure of the store as Tweed Council and the owners Cubbies bakery negotiated what was appropriate development for the controversial site.

After three years of negotiation in May 2024 the Tweed Shire Council (TSC) staff had recommended refusal of the development application (DA) ‘as the owner had failed to present a DA that would be permissible at the site and in the residential area of Fingal Head’.

Tweed Councillor James Owen.

However, led by Liberal councillors James Owen and Rhiannon Brinsmead, the decision was deferred to ‘give them another chance to see if we can find a workable solution here,’ said Cr Owen. 

The DA is back in front of councillors at tomorrow’s TSC meeting (July 9) and staff have now recommended the DA for approval – but residents say the DA should not be approved and due to the significant changes made by the developers that require anew DA to be to submitted. 

In particular is the extension of trading hours to 10pm seven days a week. 

‘It was deemed by council staff and councillors that a 4.30am start of operations in a residential zone was not acceptable in the amended DA presented to council at the meeting on May 2. However, this new DA before you now has trading hours into the late night, every night of the week,’ local resident John Hendry told The Echo.

The extension of hours to 10pm are a result of the inclusion of a 33sqm restaurant inside the building as approved in a previous DA’ 24 years ago in 2000. The DA includes a general store and takeaway shop and does not include ‘offsite distribution of any goods prepared at the premises’.

The extended opening hours was ‘something that the proponent did NOT seek in the previous DA,’ explained Mr Hendry.

‘A 10pm close of business seven days a week is unacceptable in a designated residential zone. There is no difference whether the amenity of the area is affected by noise in the morning or at night especially for those living in the very near vicinity of the site. Sleep disturbance occurs at both ends of the day. Late night closing hours continue to make this development not fit for purpose for this R2 zoned area.’

Mr Hendry has pointed out that the application for a 10pm closing time is based on a previous ‘zombie’ DA for a restaurant approved in 2000 and that under current 2014 regulations would not be allowed. 

‘If this DA was submitted under TLEP2014 today, it would have the effect of prohibiting those uses that have been historically granted,’ he explained. 

New DA required

Mr Hendry has argued that in fact the significant changes to the DA require a new DA to be submitted as it is not substantially the same DA. 

‘As per page 22 of the council report the proponents have in effect created a NEW development application and have modified the trading hours as part of this new application,’ he said. 

‘This is further reinforced on page 23 where the report states “the recommended conditions of consents include a request that the existing D93/0499 and 0858/2000DA be surrendered to provide a contemporary all encompassing consent of the premises and reduce any potential for conflict between the various consents that exist on the land”.’

7am to 7pm

Mr Hendry told The Echo that residents support 7am to 7pm trading hours at the Fingal Store site. 

‘The request for new trading hours on the restaurant component of this DA22/0797 is a new request of operating hours and opens the door for a full and frank assessment of the trading hours as part of the overall affect of the amenity on its neighbours in current times,’ he said. 

Tweed Councillor Rhiannon Brinsmead. Photo Aslan Shand

‘While there has been angst as suggested by Councillor Owen and Councillor Brinsmead to council’s legal costs in relation to rejected development applications, we would remind Councillor Owen and Brinsmead, that council should fight developers in the courts to protect community and environment. You represent the constituents, as well as developers and in this instance your decision should and needs to favour your constituents and not the developer.’


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  1. For a change i support cr Owen. Cubby house is needed it in the community . The owners have invested in upgrading the venue .

  2. Surely the fault lies with submitting a false DA in the first place! Maybe the cost to council should be worn by the developer.
    Councillors need to remember who voted them in, hoping they would look after their constituents, people have long memories especially when election time comes around. The ones who have proved they look after their communities will still be there.

  3. Well, congratulations on the Liberal/corporate councillors targeting another publication and getting, yet another article and even a photo op, in local news media prior to the coming local Govt election.
    We have started calling another publication, “The Tweed Valley Liberals Weekly”, they’ve “Somehow”, very nauseatingly managed to get an article in every week.

  4. Residents pay rates to the council therefore when DA’s are presented residents are number one priority.If agreement cannot be reached and the majority of residents agree the DA is detrimental to community surely the council cannot approve it.If there’s a compromise between the residents and the developer there’s no problem KEEP IT BASIC AND KEEP IT TRUE!

  5. What was a quite locality many years ago suited the site of a General Store within the densely populated locality of Fingal residence.
    Its survival was for many decades due to the services provided to the community as transport was in short demand. The store injected a common theme for the residents for; smallgoods being perishables and non-perishables, communications either post office boxes or agents for the Commonwealth Bank, and other items for recreational purposes. It was a General Store!
    Only two weeks ago the flooding of overflow population within the Fingal peninsular was a parking nightmare for both tourist and locals is what needs to be addressed prior to any commitment for extended hours to the locality by our councillors. It’s all the same issues with the infrastructure being over utilised and to extend the hours to include a restaurant will just cause even more headaches for the surrounding residents.
    Tweed Shire Council is committed to; “Social and affordable housing – how can Tweed Council meet the need? Population density is problematic and with communications to deliver goods and services, is there a real need for a General Store where a coffee shop is appropriately located next the Fingal Head Beach. The She Oak Shack is another outlet only 200m from the proposed restaurant supplying meals and liquor licensed and live music and Chinderah Service Station supplies all the other commodities that the General Store use to deliver to the residents of Fingal General Store. The response our council wants is glaringly obvious, “Without intervention, there will be a shortfall of up to 4,885 affordable and social homes in the Tweed by 2041. Council is urging residents to provide feedback on its draft Affordable Housing Strategy.”
    What a great idea would be as the property owner highlighted in the response to the amended DA was to consider a change to the property and this could be done with support from the council to suggest, affordable housing within a residential precinct and not a commercial restaurant in a residential precinct.

  6. With clear evidence from proponents nearby business, of the negative effects and pressures placed on surrounding neighbourhoods, any support of DA with either 4.30 am or late night 10pm trading or operation in a residential zone would be blatant disregard for the residents, flora and fauna and constituents wellbeing!
    Development is a natural progression but should never be at the expense of the community! We are well aware of intense problems that just like Fingal, many coastal communities are grappling with and therefore council are in a pivotal position to be able to navigate appropriate solutions for this uniquely designed neighbourhood. The hamlet of Fingal was design in a time when vehicles were much more scarce and is now problematic with simply residents vehicles! The general Store mostly attracted “pop in” “pop out” clients that this corner already strained to accommodate with parking!
    Putting late night trading in this location would hinder residents even being able to secure parking near their homes!
    Noise and late night conversations along narrow laneways is better suited to city streetscapes than small coastal hamlets!
    Council have navigated this unusually drawn out application with intense detail and more than fair leeway. Therefore the commitment to attaining appropriate outcomes is sincerely appreciated and I would like to implore ALL councillors to do the right thing for Fingal Head!

  7. Others point to the sneaky and disingenuous manner in which this developer has sought to progress their interests from day 1.
    The proposed development is in the middle of a residential area. The zoning for the property is residential.
    Council staff and community members have done a solid job until now in forensically uncovering the true intentions of the developer and seeking their compliance with the rules.
    The elephant in the room now is the likely significant negative impacts which will flow from the 7.00am until 10.00pm operation of this site with a recently acquired liquor license.
    What of the inconsistency of an old unused approval for a post-office and general store serving local residents being used to argue for approval of a destination licensed restaurant.
    Leaving aside the lack of proper processes around the granting of a Liquor License at this site, how can the environmental impacts of a general store and post office being allowed to operate 7.00am until 10.00am be considered equivalent to the what is now proposed ?
    7.00am till 7.00pm seems a reasonable comprise but if this destination, licensed premises are to be approved to operate 7.00am -10.00pm in the middle of our quiet residential village how is the amenity of our family and other local residents and the unique nature of Fingal to be safeguarded ?

  8. Absolutely scandalous. Why would the developers need to be open till 10.00pm every night of the week? The surrounding properties and rest of the village have a right to get a decent nights sleep and not be disturbed by a business serving alcohol and all the drama that ensues after the 10.00pm close. Councillor Owen and Brimsmead need to get onboard and protect the Fingal Community.

  9. Good morning Linda Roberts here. I agree this da should never be accepted in any form in the first place And then all residents would not be put in this position to keep objecting and writing letters. It has been a strain on all residents. I do hope in future you consider this. Let’s keep fingal special for all people that love, Coming to a special place .I agree we need housing. I don’t believe we’ll ever have a general store here again. The post office is gone forever. They will not put it back in people now are in for a quick Buck and don’t care consequences to get what they want.
    I agree, I don’t think we need a 10:00 p.m. Close the traffic and parking has come ridiculous in. Fingal head New South Wales On an average day there is no parking and basically there’s only one road in to the beach area and surf club and that is main road and the noise has become unbearable. It starts at 4:00 a.m. in the morning already before this even opened, I don’t see how we can justify allowing this to go ahead any longer. Queen Street is bumper to bumper parked cars. You can’t even drive down it anymore which only leaves main road available. It’s become like a highway thank you for listening

  10. I’m one of the residents that will be negatively impacted by these opening hours and Councillors need to support the residents that will be affected.
    Noise and parking are a major issue.
    This is a quiet residential area and we definitely don’t need an Instagram advertised Cubby.
    3 Councillors generally supporting this DA have shown their alliance as followers of Cubby Bakehouse on Instagram.
    I hope they realise they represent us residents when they vote today.
    7am to 7pm please.

  11. The Fingal Community support a general store and have always supported a general store here.
    The community has successfully stopped the site being used as an industrial bakery with no thanks to four of our councillors. Only Chris Cherry, Meredith Dennis and Nola Firth have the best interest of our community in their minds. James Owen from the very first community meeting, where he failed to announce himself in attendance, misinformed his fellow councillors by stating only a couple of people did not want this bakery in Fingal and there was nothing to see here. Councillor Owen has supported the Cubby owners and their inappropriate development in Fingal all along and if it was not for the strength of objection from the community and our ability to force a deferral at the last council meeting by going to Federal members then Fingal would now be stuck with the next cubby bakehouse in its quiet streets.
    Now we just need to get rid of the 10pm closing times of the restaurant component.

  12. This DA should be denied. It’s so tiresome. It’s obvious that Owen and the developers don’t care about the neighbors or Fingal community. They are focused on development and business. There isn’t a comparison of Sheoak cafe which has limited hours and days of service that were negotiated with Neighbours. This group has never made themselves available to the community for conversation or interaction. All prior owners have lived at the site and interacted with the community. Come spend a weekend or weeknight in Fingal and hear the ocean and peaceful silence of the night. If there is noise or disturbance we all know about it.

  13. The article raises that Crs Brinsmead and Owen have been very vocal accusing council (and particularly) the Mayor Chris Cherry of wasting money on legal fees. Media should hold them to account – the mayor did recently at a Council meeting: pointing out that Cr Brinsmead has voted FOR every single legal expenditure council has made in the last year, and Cr Owen has only voted against one that was only worth $13k out of the total of $1.4million. (It’s all captured on the meeting footage – Cr Owen had zero to say in response). So basically, they are trying to create smoke where they ain’t any. Media should call them out on their hypocrisy and false grandstanding prior to the September election.

  14. I agree this DA needs to be rejected. Come to Fingal on a week night OR weekend and hear the ocean and peaceful silence. It’s unacceptable to have such a threat to peoples home life. And this is a residential zone??? Previous owners lived on site. If there is noise in morning and evening or be it the middle of the day all neighbors know it. If people like cafes open until 10pm move to another location.

  15. I know that the late night opening hours of the restaurant are already approved from 24 years ago but have been not used all these years but are still legal. But you know what…?.councillors vote on developments all the time against their council staff recommendations and the appropriate in place laws.
    In fact this industrial bakery was two hours away from being approved by the majority of four councilors. Guess who. We got it stopped and deferred by forcing James Owen’s hand using federal intervention. For Owen and Brinsmead to now act like they saved us here in Fingal is a joke.
    So why don’t you councilors be brave now and break these old old approved consents for 10 pm closing and take the risk of being taken to court by cubby people. Stand up for the people. Put our money to good legal use and save the people of Fingal.

  16. Consider the look of how this has played out. In the initial phase it was done illegally. Then when challenged Cr Owen attended a community meeting , wouldn’t register his attendance and then reported back that there was little resistance. Cr Cherry and Dennis attended a packed meeting and were alarmed to find strong opposition to the proposal. Then when the DA is emphatically denied by council planners it takes desperate intervention from state and federal levels to halt the DA being approved by the 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse for Tweed Development. Great running of interference by Cr Owen blaming the town planner ( he will be a great witness in the litigation ) and then helping the developer jump the queue of outstanding DAs so it can be presented before the caretaker period and potentially a less amenable council. Even though they have had 3 years to do it properly and should have been told to start again at the end of the queue . Meantime the developer has sold off their residence , the cubby business and can now sell off this site advantageously. One can only hope that all constituents will receive such diligence from councillor Owen. Especially those who are struggling with mortgages, a business struggling needing a bit of legislative help, the subcontractor who is dudded by the bankrupt developer, those who have had to wait a bit longer for a legal DA to be approved.

  17. Any business in a residential zone should serve it’s community first and foremost. This proposal , like the last one submitted by this party, is designed for the benefit of the owners. Opening hours should not be considered outside of 7am to 7pm. As neighbors, we have been so disappointed that some of our councillors have been willing to trade our well-being for this development to go forward with a business model that does not suit this location. We are a residential community. Nearby residents deserve to live in a peaceful environment. Like most of our neighbors, we live with windows open. Our favorite thing about our home is the sound of the surf each night. Are all those unlucky enough to live near this development now meant to live with double glazed windows and manufactured air ? Who pays for that ? Previous owners have respected our needs. This party does not consider us at all. They have refused to meet with us repeatedly over the last three years, not willing to even hear our concerns. Late night trading does not belong here. Thank you to our Mayor, our Deputy Mayor, and to Nola Firth for standing up for our community up until now. Please help us to keep Fingal Head special !

  18. I attended the councilors meeting last night on this DA. Chris Cherry, Meredith Dennis and Nola Firth were amazing. They put up three extra motions to protect the residents. One being to remove the late hours and return to a close of 7 pm. Of course Cr Owen and his wife Brinsmead squashed it and supported their cubby friends. Reece Byrnes is useless and looks like a puppet and said nothing at the meeting and voted against the community. God help tweed if James Owen becomes mayor. Seeing him act out in council makes me think of Trump. He is a nasty person


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