Decision music to Tim's ears

MUSICIAN Tim Freedman may yet win his battle to use his Broken Head property as a wedding reception venue following a change of heart from Byron councillors at yesterday's meeting.

In November the council refused Mr Freedman's application to use his Beach Rd property for up to 18 functions a year with up to 70 guests, on the grounds it could create unacceptable noise for neighbouring residents and occupants, that there was insufficient parking, a lack of consent from the land owner and that such activity was prohibited in a Zone 2(t) tourist area. Following legal advice, Mr Freedman asked the council for a review of the decision, and gave an undertaking he would reduce the functions to 14 a year, cease all events at 9pm and ban all amplified music and speakers.

Staff had recommended the application be refused again, but at this week's meetings councillors voted to return the application to council's March 1 meeting along with draft conditions of consent.

The Whitlams frontman put his case in a public access session, saying there was nothing wrong with holding events at a his property, which was in a tourist zone.

"I find it strange that I'm being chased for attracting tourists to a tourist area," he said.

Mr Freedman said he had plenty of support in the community, including 35 businesses and nearby residents.

At yesterday's meeting, he also had the support of the Mayor, Jan Barham, who lives across the road from Mr Freedman's house.

Cr Barham had actually been forced to call police in regard to noise from another house in the same development as Mr Freedman. In spite of this, she said considering the facility was zoned for tourism, it was only natural owners like Mr Freedman would want to use it for tourism purposes.

Cr Diane Woods said it was an "upmarket, nice place" that was not going to attract the "20-year-old Splendour in the Grass crowd".

"I wish the guy luck," Cr Woods said.

Basil Cameron and Patrick Morrisey were the only councillors to oppose the motion.

"Just because some people benefit economically it doesn't mean it should trump the rights of those living around it," Cr Cameron said.

Outside the meeting, Mr Freedman said he was still digesting the decision, but felt "very relieved".

Neighbouring property owner Wayne Lazarus said he and other Broken Head residents now planned to take the matter to the Land and Environment Court.

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