Splendour decision awaited

Splendour in the Grass organisers are hoping for a decision early in the new year from the State Government on their plans to bring the event back to the Byron Shire.

They are seeking approval for their North Byron Parklands site at Yelgun to become a permanent festival site, hosting Splendour and other major festivals annually.

The application, which is being determined by the State Government under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, is now being assessed by the Department of Planning.

North Byron Parklands general manager Mat Morris said the results of the public exhibition period for the proposal had been released by the department.

Mr Morris said the department had received 4821 submissions in support of the proposal and 715 submissions against it.

He said the department also had received a petition with 4160 signatures in support of the proposal, and petitions totalling 25 signatures against the proposal.

“We are obviously happy with the results of the public exhibition period and we thank those who supported the proposal with all our hearts,” he said.

“We are addressing issues raised in submissions and will aim to provide our feedback, including any updates to our proposal, to the Department of Planning prior to Christmas.

“We understand we still have some way to go before a decision is made.”

Opponents of the proposal put a different slant on the submission figures.

The Coalition for Festival Sanity says many of the submissions of support appear to be based on form letters and many were signed by people living outside the shire.

The coalition also says the majority of submissions from the area around Yelgun opposed the proposal.

If approved, the proposed cultural event venue would host events up to a maximum of 20 days each year, not including events of under 300 people, when operating at capacity.

Mr Morris said less than half the 660-acre site would be used for event purposes, with the remaining land used for bush regeneration and habitat.

Byron Council has called on the department to refuse the application.

In its submission, the council said the planned development would be ‘destructive’ of the existing local character, particularly that of the north-eastern part of the shire.

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