Lennox backpackers gets thumbs down

Ballina Shire Council has turned down a development application (DA) for a backpackers hostel on a central Lennox Head site which is zoned for short-term tourist accommodation.

The DA proposed converting an existing, older, single-storey weatherboard house into a backpackers fronting Rayner Lane. The hostel would provide accommodation for a maximum of 11 guests within three bedrooms, plus a fourth bedroom occupied by a resident manager.

Before last months meeting Council heard a deputation from Peter Burton who spoke on behalf of his mother-in-law who lives next door. He said they supported the recommendation from staff to refuse the DA on the basis of noise and the affect on privacy.

Twelve adults, probably mainly young people, having a holiday noise will definitely increase, he said. It will severely effect my mother-in-laws lifestyle.

However, the decision to refuse the DA caused concern for Cr John Felsch, who was worried Council would find itself facing a law suit.

I think we should ask for a re-hash of it, rather than a refusal, he said.

Cr Margaret Howes suggested alternative wording, encouraging the developer to re-submit his designs with fire and noise attenuation in place.

At the moment this is a dead set ringer for a court case, she said.

After much debate to and fro, Council voted to refuse the development because of noise concerns, but with the added suggestion that the developer re-submit his designs with appropriate noise and fire controls in place.

Councillor Keith Johnson was not happy with the decision, calling it a Claytons refusal. He voted against the motion along with Cr Alan Brown and Cr Sharon Cadwallader.

Owner of the property Trevor Brand said in light of the Councils refusal it was likely the house would be demolished and a much larger tourism development built in its place.

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