Cloud over housing development

The $50 million housing development on the old Epicentre site at Belongil Beach.
The $50 million housing development on the old Epicentre site at Belongil Beach.

Byron Council is facing another possible major legal battle, this time over a $50 million housing development on the old Epicentre site at Belongil Beach.

The Byron Preservation Association claims the council had approved a strata subdivision for the site in 2007, but the NSW Land Titles Office was now refusing to register the title.

Association president Geoff Tauber said the multi-lot strata subdivision, six years in the making by Kendall Street Developments Pty Ltd, was complete and ready to market, but the council’s approval apparently did not conform to the NSW Strata Title Act and could not be registered.

"The decision could lead to yet another major legal case against council, which, it is understood, suggested a strata subdivision, when subdivision is actually prohibited within the 7f2 urban coastal lands zone,” he said.

"Council’s 2007 approval of the strata subdivision caused considerable surprise among legal and real estate circles in Byron Bay at the time, particularly as it appeared to be contrary to its coastal retreat policy.”

Mr Tauber said the new public road, built through the middle of the development to replace the erosion-threatened Border Street, had now been physically blocked by the developer, who was understood to have also withdrawn the road transfer to the council.

He said the council had moved the sewerage and water supply lines for the whole of Belongil Beach on to the new road through the subdivision.

"The result is that council’s sewerage and water supply pipes now run through private land," Mr Tauber said.

"We are very concerned that road access and services to residents are now at extreme risk and residents will also have to continue their use of Border Street.”

Attempts by the Byron News to contact Kendall Street Developments Pty Ltd were unsuccessful, as were attempts to get clarification from the NSW Land Titles Office on the status of the strata title.

Byron Shire Council’s general manager Graeme Faulkner said council was not prepared to comment on allegations by a third party when they had received no formal advice from the developer.

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