Bangalow school opposes plan

CONTROVERSIAL: The site in Station St, Bangalow, where a retail/residential block is planned.
CONTROVERSIAL: The site in Station St, Bangalow, where a retail/residential block is planned. Digby Hildreth

THE residential/retail development proposed for Station St in Bangalow will be "vehemently opposed" by the adjoining school as part of an extended submissions period until January 31.

Josh Rogers, president of the Bangalow Public School P&C committee, said the three-storey building and its 18 car spaces was "completely inappropriate" and the inevitable spike in traffic movements posed a real danger to the school's students.

"Children cross Station Lane to go to classes in the RSL and A&I halls," Mr Rogers said. "This development is likely to add at least 50 traffic movements a day. It will become a very busy little laneway and utterly unsafe."

Mr Rogers said he understood that the school's principal, Susie Boyle, would also be putting in a submission objecting to the project.

Bangalow resident Jenny Coman, who advised on the Development Control Plan for Bangalow in the 1990s, said she was "totally opposed" to the proposal.

"It doesn't follow any of the guidelines on the need to preserve the heritage and village character of the town, including on architectural design and size," Ms Coman said.

But town planner Paul De Fina, who co-ordinated the development plan for the owners and guided the successful rebuilding of the Urban Cafe, said he couldn't understand why the plan was so controversial.

"There are so many good things about this project," Mr de Fina said. "It will provide affordable, single-bedroom housing which is especially suitable for older people or those with mobility problems."

The "urban consolidation" provided by such shop-top housing would address a lack of major housing in Bangalow, Mr De Fina said.

"There is not a single flat to rent in town."

The development met Byron council's rules, including height, and was set back more than 4m off the road.

"And it's not four-storeys as reported. It has basement parking, with two storeys in the front and a third at the rear," Mr De Fina said.

The developers were also giving the old house on the site to the Showground Trust, which would restore it, as well as the four-car garage which would be recycled into a Men's Shed.

Tony Hart, president of the Bangalow Progress Association, will chair a meeting on the project at 6pm tonight (January 10) in the RSL Hall in Station St.

Mr Hart has described the project as "premature".

"We need a proper plan for this street," he said.

The community's feeling was "mixed", he said.



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