Government blocks holiday let plan

The State Government is continuing to block efforts by Byron Council to regulate holiday letting across the shire.

In a recent letter to the council, Tom Gellibrand the deputy director general of plan making and urban renewal at NSW Planning requested legal actions being considered by the council against individual property owners who were letting properties on a temporary basis be suspended.

Mr Gellibrand said the department’s legal branch had raised concerns about a planned council legal action against Merkat Pty Ltd, the owners of a property in Wordsworth Street, Byron Bay.

He said the legal branch had advised there was considerable uncertainty whether the use of the premises for short term holiday lets could be properly characterised as ‘tourist facilities’ as defined in the council’s 1988 shirewide LEP.

Mr Gellibrand said the department was reviewing the holiday let issue on a statewide basis and hoped to have options for councils to review in coming months.

He said the department would consult with the Local Government Shires Association to identify an appropriate position for councils.

Last year the department advised Byron Council it would not support holiday let controls planned to be included in the draft Local Environmental Plan. (LEP).

It advised the council then to continue with self-regulation through letting agents and landowners until a statwide response to the issue was developed.

Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham said the council had been blocked every step of the way by the government in trying to regulate holiday letting in th shire.

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