Habitat retail and lifestyle precinct at Byron Bay. Photo: Christopher Frederick Jones
Habitat retail and lifestyle precinct at Byron Bay. Photo: Christopher Frederick Jones

Hotel rooms part of $42 million expansion of Habitat

A PLANNING proposal for stage five of Byron Bay's Habitat estate will soon return to the council for further consideration.

Byron Shire Council voted to exhibit a proposed change to the Byron Development Control Plan on May 25.

Stage four of the precinct was approved the same month.

A proposal for stage five, estimated to cost about $42 million, was submitted with the council in February.

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The proposal seeks to amend part of that plan to allow for a further expansion of the mixed use Habitat development, which is on Bayshore Drive in the Arts and Industry Estate.

The applicant hopes to build extra retail and commercial components as well as a "function centre space, cafe/restaurant, co-working space, hotel accommodation, apartments and a basement car park".

One submission, from a strata committee representing nearby residents, has opposed the proposal.

The committee said the proposal was "inconsistent with how the development has been presented to the community and is a blatant example of development creep".

They said the justifications for a proposed hotel were "flimsy", "do not withstand critical evaluation" and would bring a "radical change from a local village to a tourist hub".

According to the council staff report, the DA originally proposed 106 short stay rooms.

"Following discussions with staff, the applicant has reduced the number of hotel rooms to 59 and increased the number of office, wellness, apartment and commercial spaces," staff said.

They said the applicant indicated the accommodation was intended as a "wellness and business hotel", primarily to service the existing and proposed businesses within Habitat and the broader Arts and Industry Estate.

"In particular, the short term accommodation would be used in conjunction with the function spaces and meeting rooms, for conferences and the like, and in association with the proposed wellness precinct in Stage Five," they said.

Staff said while short-term accommodation isn't currently allowed for in the DCP, that proposal "has merit and can meet an identified need in the are".

The council's staff have recommended they adopt the proposed DCP changes.

Councillors will consider the matter at the planning meeting next Thursday.



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