Byron Bay development rejected in court
BYRON Bay has escaped the grip of big business trying to build a retail and apartment block out of character with its most coveted heritage precinct.
Sydney developer Gordon Highlands Pty Ltd lost an appeal against Byron Shire Council's refusal to allow a major apartment and shopping complex to be built in Bangalow.
The council twice rejected the application to construct a two-storey residential and retail structure at 9 Station St before the developer appealed in the NSW Land and Environment Court.
It would have included eight units, three shops and underground parking for 25 cars which the Land Court determined as unbefitting of the Bangalow Heritage Precinct.
Not everyone opposed the development.
Cr Chris Cubis, who also serves on the board of management of the adjacent Bangalow A&I Hall, was one of the few city officials who voted to approve the structure.
He rejected the first application but thought the revised design "didn't look like much of a controversial building at all".
"I actually thought council's second decision (to reject the application) would have worked in favour of the proponent when he went to court," Cr Cubis said.
"There are taller buildings on the street, they had done their community consultation and I think it was in the same style as the character of Bangalow.
"I think council was more concerned that this guy has more property around town."
Land Court Commissioner Susan O'Neill agreed with the majority of councillors and found the bulk and scale of the proposal was unsuitable for the area.
"The proposal is not in harmony with the existing or future character of Station St," she said.
"It is not compatible and has not responded to the essential elements that make up the character of the surrounding urban environment . . . and it would have a detrimental impact on the identified heritage significance of the Bangalow Heritage Precinct."
The development was expected to cost more than $4.2 million with a floor area of 1098sq m.