An aerial view of Byron Bay.
An aerial view of Byron Bay. David Nielsen

Council shuts $9000/week house

BYRON Shire Council will order a new luxury tourist facility to close its doors because it was never given approval to operate.

The newly built complex of six houses at 57-59 Shirley St, Byron Bay has been offering accommodation on several websites under the name of Byron Bay Luxury Beach Houses.

Its own website describes the accommodation as the 'ultimate family/friends holiday experience' and advertises Christmas New Year's rates at $9000 a week.

The problem is, it is in a residential zone and does not have approval as tourist accommodation.

The council gave development consent to build six dwelling houses on the property in 2009, but records show consent has never been given to use the premises as tourist or visitor accommodation.

"The premises are zoned 2(a) residential zone and tourist facilities are prohibited development in that zone," said Byron Shire Council governance manager Ralph James.

The council will this week serve orders on the property owners to cease using the houses for tourist accommodation and holiday letting.

The complex at Shirley St is the latest property to be targeted under the council's current crackdown or holiday letting, and those profiteering from the practice.

The council says its hard-line stance is motivated by several factors including the amenity of neighbourhoods, the lack of available housing for residents, (it is estimated there are 400 to 600 homes used for holiday letting in Byron Bay), as well as the protection of legitimate tourist operators, who pay double rates and have to conform to strict health and safety regulations, which holiday let owners avoid.

It's also aimed at protecting lives, like those of the 19 occupants council alleges it found in a house in Jonson St last week, where there were no working smoke alarms or fire extinguishers.

The Northern Star contacted an employee at Shirley St for comment, but owners did not reply.



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