The circle shows the area next to Splendour In The Grass that police and council claim was used illegally for camping during Splendour.
The circle shows the area next to Splendour In The Grass that police and council claim was used illegally for camping during Splendour.

'Illegal campsite' charge

A Byron Bay resident will face court on August 22 accused of running an illegal camping site for up to 200 people over the Splendour in the Grass weekend.

Police said they had to use bolt cutters to access the property next to the Belongil Fields festival where it is alleged they found campers sleeping in shipping containers as well as "significant amounts" of feces, toilet paper and rubbish.

It was claimed 114 vehicles with registration plates from NSW, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT were also parked on the site.

Byron Shire Council and police obtained a warrant to search the property on Sunday, July 29 after it was claimed they were denied access to it on the Friday night despite serving a notice of inspection.

Before the festival, council staff, suspicious that unauthorised camping was taking place, organised for aerial photographs to be taken of the property.

The photographs allegedly show at least 65 vehicles, 73 tents and annexes and four portable toilets.

The council governance manager, Ralph James, said illegal land use would not be tolerated as it could undermine the area's reputation as a world-class tourist destination "if people ended up staying in the kind of conditions our officers observed during the search".

"This kind of event undermines those community members who have set up a tourism business legitimately," Mr James said.

"These kinds of actions can damage our unique natural environment which is a key attraction for residents and visitors alike."

The property owner has been issued with a notice to appear in Byron Bay Court.

The maximum fine for development without consent is $110,000. The action comes less than a month after Shai Major was ord- ered to pay almost $100,000 after being found guilty of illegally housing eight schoolies at his leased Byron Bay residence without consent.



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