The development that was approved for the site on Ballina Street where the Thai Garden Restaurant and Motel used to be will not go ahead in the same layout.
Citing poor sales as the reason, owners have presented Council with a new DA which describes the development as:
‘construction and strata title subdivision of a two storey mixed use development providing commercial/food and drink premises/offices (Building A fronting Ballina Street) and three storey shop top housing (Building B fronting Rayner Lane) with centralized open car park, landscaping and associated infrastructure.’
Council debated the application at the March Council Meeting after receiving several letters of objection, primarily from residents who live close to the site.
Councillor Sue Meehan describes herself as strongly opposed to the development, particularly because of the way it will affect the seaside village atmosphere, and because it is inconsistent she says with Council’s Development Control Plan for Lennox Head, which cites 2 of its objectives as:
• Provide a high quality built environment which is complementary to the location and seaside village atmosphere of the Lennox Head Village Centre;
• Minimise the impact of buildings on the streetscape and promote an active street experience for pedestrians.
Cr Meehan explains that although the Council recently amended restrictions on building height in Lennox Head, there is no restriction on the number of storeys.
‘We increased the height limit to allow the construction of interesting roof lines,’ she says. ‘Not to encourage 3 storey buildings.’
‘This will set a precedent for that block and for the whole area,’ she says.
‘This new DA is a quantum change from the one that we had approved.’
Fred Goodman, a resident of Rayner Lane and member of the Lennox Head Residents’ Association, is also concerned.
‘It is inappropriate for any commercial developments to be facing Rayner Lane,’ he says. ‘It is contrary to those basic principles of maintaining the seaside village atmosphere. The sheer bulk and size and height of Building B, which is three storeys high and has no breaks between buildings, apart from not fitting in, is just not appropriate for a laneway like Rayner Lane, which is narrow and has a very high number of pedestrians.’
Although she attempted (with the support of Crs Jeff Johnson, Keith Williams and Ken Johnston) and failed to get the DA rejected at the March Council meeting, Cr Meehan did pass a successful motion to have the decision deferred.
‘There is still time if the residents of Lennox Head are opposed to this. We want feedback from the community on this,’ she says.