Byron Shire Council has confirmed that a controversial development application for a massive food processing estate on the outskirts of Bangalow, variously dubbed a ‘food precinct’ and a ‘food hub’ has been withdrawn by the proponents following widespread objection to the development from the community.
Both the town’s Progress Association and Chamber of Commerce took a stand against the proposed development at 201 Lismore Road, with arguments including bulk and scale, traffic and parking issues, as well as the potential for flooding and pollution of adjacent Byron Creek.
And there had been a further call to arms in recent days with Bangalow resident Linda Sparrow, who organised a petition against the development, writing to supporters, ‘With just under 2,000 signatures on our petition both written and change.org, Bangalow has shown a clear message of opposition to this massive factory development on agricultural land.’
Byron Mayor Simon Richardson said, ‘It was a welcome relief… when news of the withdrawal of the Bangalow Food Hub application became known.
‘It is a testament to what an informed, inspired and invigorated community can do.
‘However, now we must turn our attention to trying to find homes for those food producers who were caught in the middle of the issue. These are great local people making great local food; hopefully, we can all use this same community invigoration to find solutions to their challenges of finding spaces to remain here and grow,’ he said.
It is not known at this stage what reasons the proponents, Chase Lismore Road Pty Ltd, gave for withdrawing the proposal but a spokesperson for Byron Shire Council said, ‘This will now be processed and staff will advise the JRPP and also those who made a submission.’
Tamara Smith Member for Ballina said in a statement:
“This is very welcome news to many residents of Bangalow. I have met with many who live in Bangalow or near the proposed site and their main concerns were about the increase in traffic, especially heavy vehicle traffic, and the effect development at the site would have on their heritage town and on the local koala population.
“I attended the public meeting at Byron Shire Council about the development in August last year and listened to a very concerned community. I was planning to have a statement read out opposing this development at the JRPP meeting in March. I am all for regional business and jobs for our area but this was not the right location for such a large development.
“With land values as they are in our region, protecting our rural buffer zones and resisting ribbon development outside of our villages is vital if we are to retain the character that we all love and that attracts people to the region in the first place.
“Preserving the soil and promise of food growing and agricultural production on RU1 zoned land in our region is vital to our local economy and to the future,” said Ms Smith.
“As I said back in August last year, this is the right business but the wrong site,” said Ms Smith.