BYPASS RETHINK: North Angels Beach Estate developer Chris Condon has had second thoughts about building an underpass under the Coast Road after police voiced safety concerns about the proposal.
BYPASS RETHINK: North Angels Beach Estate developer Chris Condon has had second thoughts about building an underpass under the Coast Road after police voiced safety concerns about the proposal. David Nielsen

Underpass plan opposed by police

PLANS to build an underpass as part of the North Angels Beach Estate at East Ballina could be scrapped because of concerns it could become a crime hot spot.

The underpass, already approved by Ballina Shire Council, would allow pedestrians and cyclists to easily get from one side of the Coast Road to the other.

However, Lennox Head planner Steve Connelly said his client, developer Chris Condon, believed the underpass would be 'unsafe'.

“The developer would like to do the very best in terms of safety and amenity for the new residents of the estate,” he said.

“And on the best advice available to him, the amendment that's sought will be the best.”

Mr Connelly has applied to the NSW Department of Planning to have the requirement for an underpass deleted from the development approval. It would be replaced with a pedestrian refuge.

Crime prevention officer, Snr Const Michael Hogan, said NSW Police did not support underpasses.

“But we are open to other options. The assessment on this issue has been done and the report has been sent to Ballina Council,” he said.

“We have looked at all options, and three of the four options aren't supported. We are in favour of an overpass.”

The council's regulatory services group manager, Rod Willis, said the council was not in favour of a pedestrian refuge in place of the underpass.

“Because the Coast Road is an arterial road, and because of the volume of traffic on it and the speed of that traffic, it has always been the council's policy to have grade separated crossings,” he said.

“There are underpasses at Lennox Head, Headlands Estate at Skennars Head and at East Ballina.

“The development of the North Angels Beach estate will generate an amount of pedestrian and cycle traffic.

“We have acknowledged there are some disadvantages with the underpass, but believe the benefits far outweigh those disadvantages.”

Mr Willis admitted the design submitted by the applicant could create safety problems, because users would not be able to see if anyone was coming towards them.

“But our experience with underpasses along the Coast Road is that there has not been a lot of criminal activity,” he said.

“The council has been open to looking at a range of designs for the underpass, and is still open to this if the applicants want to rethink their current approved design.”

The application to change the terms of consent is currently being assessed by the Department of Planning.



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