HOUSES OF HORROR: Ballina MP Tamara Smith warns manor houses could change face of Northern Rivers.
HOUSES OF HORROR: Ballina MP Tamara Smith warns manor houses could change face of Northern Rivers. Marc Stapelberg

Warning over 'manor house' fast tracking

GREENS Member for Ballina Tamara Smith MP is warning a new housing code, allowing the fast tracking of approval of manor houses, comprising up to four self contained units could destroy the local community.

She has called for an immediate moratorium on the new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code which includes a 20 day approval process for complying one or two story dual occupancies, manor houses and terrace houses.

Ms Smiths call is backed by Byron Shire Council, one of 50 LGAs in NSW that have a temporary deferral from the Code until 1 July this year.

Council's Director Sustainable Environment and Economy, Shannon Burt, said the Code was developed with Sydney and large metropolitan areas in mind, and, Council has reservations about its potential for development in Byron Shire's towns and villages that is not in keeping with community expectations and desires for the look and feel of the 'built environment' of the area.

Ms Smith said under the code any block of land anywhere in the Northern Rivers that is 600 square metres or larger can be converted into a manor house.

"It gets worse - all of them can be privately certified which means they don't have to go through the standard consent process,” Ms Smith said.

"The first time a neighbour finds out about such a development will be when it begins construction.

"To add insult to injury the whole lot can be used for holiday letting on platforms such as AirBnB.”

"This law would allow 500 blocks in Suffolk Park to become manor houses of four apartments each without any consultation with the community.”

Ms Burt said while Council supports the NSW Government's initiative to deliver greater diversity and supply of medium density housing stock, there are concerns about the potential impact of the code on the Byron Shire.

"We believe that the Code, as it currently is, will not result in good outcomes for our residents, who are passionate about appropriate development that reflects the character of the local area in terms of look, style and density,” she said.

"Council needs to have a community-focused planning framework in place prior to the implementation of the Code to guide appropriate development and this is something we are working on at the moment as we develop our Byron Shire Residential Strategy.

"The Residential Strategy is our most critical growth management strategy which when complete, will provide a framework for what is acceptable in neighbourhoods.

"Once this in place we will be able to provide some clear guidelines to developers around what sort of development the community, and Council, feel is appropriate for different parts of our Shire,” Ms Burt said.

Council has written to the Planning Minister requesting an extension of nine months before the implementation of the Code in the Byron Shire to allow for the Residential Strategy, including local character development control provisions, to be completed.

Council has also asked the Planning Minister for permission to limit the application of the Code to certain precincts in the Shire where medium density development will be appropriate.

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