Council's legal action blocked
NSW Planning has blocked moves by Byron Shire Council to take legal action against the owners of noisy holiday lets.
Mayor Jan Barham described the State intervention as ‘all a bit curious’, whereas Cr Richard Staples said it now appeared NSW Planning was ‘being pressurised’ by those who were making financial gains through letting their private homes to holiday-makers.
In a letter to the council, NSW Planning’s deputydirector-general, Tom Gellibrand, said he ‘would liketo request that the current legal actions being considered by (Byron) council against individual property owners who are letting on a temporary basis be suspended’.
“I trust you will understand the department’s pos-ition on this issue,” he concluded.
Cr Barham said the council had been blocked every step of the way in trying to regulate the contentious issue of holiday lets in the shire.
“NSW Planning blocked us putting provisions against it in our LEP, and yet our planning and legal advice says these provisions are still necessary,” she said.
A planned legal test against a property in Wordsworth Street, owned by Merkat Pty Ltd, was due to proceed until the council received the letter from NSW Planning.
In defending its position, the state department said it was reviewing the issue of holiday leasing of private homes statewide, and would consult with the Local Gov-ernment and Shires’ Association ‘with a view to identifying an appropriate position for councils across the State’.
Cr Barham said the association had yet to be formally approached by NSW Planning.
Resident and spokesman against unregulated Byron Shire holiday letting, Rob Eldridge, said his organisation, Enough is Enough, was happy to co-exist with responsible owners of holiday lets.
The real issue was with those owners who continually allowed tenants to hold loud parties in their homes, he said.
Mr Eldridge said he lived opposite a highly regulated B&B which posed no noise problem. The owners of that business had to meet strict standards for health and safety, whereas numerous holiday lets were exposing tenants to substandard fire safety, kitchen cleanliness and a lack of insurance provisions.
“Whatever the legal outcome is in this debate we wish to retain the amenity of the area – and that means no noisy neighbours,” he said.