Becton bid to clear air over land


SIMON STOCKFELD wants Byron Bay residents to read his lips: Becton is not planning a residential development on the old Club Med site.

After three years of community backlash, controversy and hostility, the Melbourne-based company is gearing up for next month's Land and Environment Court hearing to decide who is the consent authority for development of the prime coastal property ? the NSW Minister for Planning or Byron Shire Council.

Mr Stockfeld is Becton's development manager, and he said rumours that the company was planning a de facto residential development were simply not true.

"That land is zoned 2T, which clearly precludes residential," he said.

"I've heard talk around town that we're planning 700 apartments. This would be quite impossible with the density of our planned development."

Mr Stockfeld said the appropriate consent authority was not clearly defined under NSW legislation, which was why Becton had decided to take the matter to court.

"We want a judge to determine once and for all who the consent authority is," he said.

Mr Stockfeld said Becton had allocated 75 per cent of the 90ha site to permanent conservation.

"This could be a showcase development the council could be proud of," he said. "We're quite bemused by their hostility towards us."

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