Byron council approves new mall at Bay despite height breach

Artist's impression of proposed shopping centre at the Woolworths plaza on Jonson St in Byron Bay.
Artist's impression of proposed shopping centre at the Woolworths plaza on Jonson St in Byron Bay.

PLANS for a shopping mall that would exceed Byron Bay's building height restrictions were approved by Byron Shire Council yesterday.

The $18 million Mercato on Byron development will replace the current cinema and Woolworths supermarket in Jonson St and was approved after debate over building heights and how to keep fast food outlets such as KFC and McDonald's at bay.

The council shied away from ruling only "small, local, unique and sustainable" shops be allowed, but a similar covenant must be agreed upon before an occupation certificate is issued.

The complex will have two levels of basement parking, a supermarket, shops, bowling alley, gallery and cinema.

Councillors approved plans for a central roof area providing natural light and ventilation to reach 13m, exceeding the town's height restrictions by 10%, but down from the developer's original proposal of 14.5m.

Voting against, Cr Basil Cameron accused the council of "rolling over" on the height issue, saying it set a precedent.

"Our height restrictions are the single most important planning provision to help us maintain the look and feeling of Byron Bay," Cr Cameron said.

Byron Mayor Simon Richardson, however, praised the developer's willingness to change its plans when original designs met with community opposition.

"I never thought I would say this about a shopping centre, but this development is something we can be very proud of," Cr Richardson said.

"This is a five-star sustainable development that creates a template for the future," he said.

"It's a great outcome. As a council we can be proud that we are reshaping how we deal with commercial opportunities in our town."


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