Byron Shire is a wedding mecca, but budding brides and grooms are being urged to check their venues are legal before booking.
Byron Council’s legal services co-ordinator Ralph James said a notice to cease operations had been issued to a property advertising itself as a ‘luxury wedding venue’ known as The Grove.
Mr James said the venue was located at Coopers Shoot, in the Byron hinterland, which is a prohibited zone for function centres.
“There are nine zones in the Byron Shire where function centres, which is what wedding venues fall under, are permitted with development consent,” he said.
“But there are three zones where there are commercial weddings at the moment where function centres are prohibited, and it’s within those three zones where a lot of the current issues are coming forward.”
The approval of another venue known as Horizons at Talofa, also in the Byron hinterland, was recently overturned in the NSW Supreme Court after complaints from neighbours.
Mr James said the only avenue for owners of venues in prohibited zones was to make an application for temporary function use, which may grant them approval to host events 14 days per year.
He said hinterland properties had become increasingly sought-after as wedding venues in recent years, but couples needed to consider the potential impact of large events on neighbours.
“It’s mainly noise issues we’re dealing with and, given the location of the properties, noise does tend to carry,” Mr James said.
“Some of them also have a mix of traffic issues and other complaints, but it’s overwhelmingly noise.”
Industry brings millions to Byron
Byron Bay Weddings owner Che Devlin said the wedding industry brought $70 million per year to the shire and directly employed 300 small business owners.
Mr Devlin said his business alone organised about 250 weddings per year, and there were about 20 wedding venues in the Byron Shire hinterland.
“They’re run under really strict terms and conditions because what it’s all about is trying to keep the peace of the neighbourhood,” Mr Devlin said.
“The curfew in regards to time and departure is usually made and set for 10.30pm, with music off at 10pm.
“All transport is to be arranged by local bus companies and there’s consultation with the council and with their neighbours as well.”
Mr Devlin urged the council to work with venue owners to help them ensure they were meeting legal requirements.
“What the council needs to do is to help venue owners find a way to have their properties suitable for weddings,” he said.
“Not every property is suitable for weddings. If it’s affecting your neighbour it’s not suitable for weddings.”