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$18 Million plans for redevelopment of Woolworth’s shopping centre site.

By Denise Milner

Last Thursday the Byron Shire Council approved the $18 million dollar redevelopment of the Woolworths shopping centre site in Byron Bay’s main street.

It will be the first of its kind in regional Australia, a building with an art gallery and public spaces.

Despite its five star green rating, one councillor retained concerns that the building will exceed the councils height limits for the commercial zones by 10 per cent.

The building is set to replace the current Palace Cinemas and the buildings behind it to create a 3,400 square metre mall. It will feature a ground floor supermarket, first floor retail shops, restaurants, bowling ally, an art gallery, seven-cinema complex, two levels of basement car parking and a terrace over Jonson Street road reserve.

The centrally located roof feature will provide natural light and ventilation, which helps reduce energy consumption but places the building above the set height limit.

After describing their initial proposal as making “Byron Bay look like Surfers Paradise”, Mayor Simon Richardson brokered the deal with the developers.

“We are lucky the proponents agreed to consider community concerns – a great position for the developers to start in”

“I think it’s the best we can get within the parameters; it’s a great testament to the planning director Ray Darney and planning staff

“As a council and staff we are reshaping how we deal with community opportunities in our town”, said Mayor Simon Richardson.

Councillors have taken considerable time to determine what planning mechanisms were available to ensure the centre did not simply fill up with the ‘usual chain stores’.

Eventually a clause was inserted requiring that ‘prior to issue of an occupation certificate, both council and proponents develop a formal agreement based on a section 88E Conveyancing Act 1991 restriction, that is supported by both parties to limit tenancies.

The Mayor said it was a bold tactic, “If it can be achieved, that in itself would be probably nationally or certainly state significant and unique on a state level”

“The powers we have are very, very minor”

“So with a developer who is really on board with not filling their shops with mono-cultural entities and shops, we’ve got an opportunity here to see if we can actually formalise a process that might be used in the future”

The mayor said the developer submitted three completely different designs in response to community feedback and the council’s requests for a sustainable development.

Story via: The EcoNet Daily, ABC News

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