Will there be new housing in my street or neighbourhood?

    The strategy considers both infill (housing in established residential areas) and new-release areas as a potential source for future housing. A charrette was held in November 2018 which helped to inform the strategy’s direction around land for housing. This included identifying the following priorities:

    • A focus on infrastructure: the need for forward planning of infrastructure, both in new release areas and associated towncentres and other related infrastructure networks (e.g. transportation, drainage) to effectively integrate new areas with existing areas.
    • Sustainable transportation: recognising the benefits of development in and around transportation nodes, particularly rail, as well as pedestrian/cycle connectivity between new-release and established areas.
    • Ensuring delivery: the need to create mechanisms and a level of certainty in delivering housing diversity that is consistent with residential character and community objectives, ensuring policies can be achieved.
    • Density in the right place: recognising the benefits of increased density in and around town centres rather than in isolated locations without the right infrastructure.

    To see what changes are anticipated for your area please see the infopac with the name of your local town or village.  **NEED TO INSERT LINK TO INFOSHEET HERE*

    • Bangalow
    • Byron Bay and environs (including Suffolk Park and Sunrise)
    • Brunswick Heads
    • Mullumbimby
    • New Brighton, Ocean Shores, South Golden Beach

    What is the Byron Shire Residential Strategy?

    The Byron Shire Residential Strategy (the strategy) is one of Council’s key growth management strategies. The purpose of this strategy is to guide residential development in our urban areas for the next 20 years. It is action-oriented, focusing on priority measures to be implemented, with monitoring and review updates to guide continual improvement.

    The Strategy relates to future housing in Bangalow, Brunswick Heads, Byron Bay, Mullumbimby, New Brighton, Ocean Shores, South Golden Beach, Suffolk Park and Sunrise.

    Why do we need a residential strategy?

    The North Coast Regional Plan estimates an increase in the North Coast’s population of 76,200 people by 2036, requiring 46,000 more homes. It is estimated that some 6,400 people will choose to live in the Byron Shire, requiring 3,150 more homes.

    Additionally, with the population of South-East Queensland (SEQ) expected to grow from 3.5 million to 5.3 million over the next 25 years, Byron Shire is likely to face similar growth management issues as the SEQ region. These include population growth, rising land costs, increased tourist numbers, development pressures on natural assets and farmland and the need to invest in additional infrastructure and community services.

    Maintaining our diverse community and social cohesion are essential for our Shire’s social and economic vitality and wellbeing. A critical pathway to this outcome is ensuring a good future supply of housing for a range of incomes, lifestyle choices, household types and life stages.

    The strategy explores the possibilities and potential of infill (additional housing in existing neighbourhoods) and new land release. It is about enabling our residents to feel part of a community where there is a choice of homes to suit their current and future needs – all in a town or village that reflects its own unique identity and local character.

    A progressive policy framework is needed to reflect and respond to:

    What does the strategy do?

    This Strategy is about:

    • building partners with the private sector and community housing providers to create genuine affordable housing
    • ensuring greater housing choice for our residents and improving the liveability of our neighbourhoods
    • identifying the best locations to accommodate future housing growth, considering transport links, services and infrastructure, as well as land suitability and future character
    • linking expected housing growth with increased community infrastructure needs – thereby enabling council to plan and advocate for those needs


    What won't the strategy do?

    The Residential Strategy cannot:

    • stop population growth from occurring in Byron Shire
    • prevent higher density development from occurring in some locations
    • immediately rezone land or change current planning controls (any changes will be subject to further, more detailed work involving additional community engagement), or
    • force people to move house or develop their land. 

    While the strategy does not seek to influence population growth, Council does have a clear role to plan for our current and future residents and manage growth responsibly.

    Why do we need to plan for housing choice, diversity and equity?

    A diverse mix of housing types is required to meet the needs of our community including families, low income earners, people living alone, young people, the elderly and people with disabilities. Improving housing diversity and equity is essential to maintaining the community diversity and social cohesion in our towns and villages.

    You may be, or know of, a:

    • young person seeking to live closer to educational institutions such as TAFE or university or their place of work
    • recently separated person with children, who are now on a single income and can no longer stay in their family home
    • older person whose spouse has passed away and are on a reduced retirement income.

    Hence, there is a need to improve housing diversity and affordability to accommodate the Shire’s unique demography. This in turn can lead to a more diverse employment base, as well as greater local employment and business opportunities.

    The strategy seeks to improve housing choice, diversity and equity by:

    • enabling opportunities for innovative new residential forms and models that give a sense of place; promote environmental stewardship and encourage social, economic and cultural diversity and equity
    • facilitating and promoting growth in the proportion of ‘rent to-buy’ housing aimed at the lower end of the market, including those with low income
    • encouraging the supply of well designed low-rise, medium density housing types, in addition to detached housing
    • facilitating ‘urban village’ pockets of mixed-use activities close to business centres.

    How will future housing be delivered?

    The majority of future housing will be located in our urban areas, with new housing between 2016-2036 expected to be provided in the following ways:

    Will the local character of my area change?

    Central to the Residential Strategy is Policy 3: Housing that reflects the ‘local' in our places, which recognises the need to manage change carefully to ensure there is housing choice for our residents and that our suburbs continue to be vibrant, attractive places to live. As part of the strategy each of our urban areas will have a residential character narrative, which in turn will inform what type of development design controls should apply to future development. 

    The purpose of a residential narrative is to capture what makes one neighbourhood distinctive from another in the way it ‘looks and feels’ to locals and visitors. The process of articulating the quintessential elements of our local area’s character provides a starting point for considering local character at all levels ¾ from strategic planning to detailed plans for places.

    What about the impacts of short-term holiday letting?

    The increasing popularity of online holiday letting platforms such as Airbnb, allow residential homes to be rented out for short term stays. This presents a number of issues to the community in terms of amenity, character, affordability and long-term availability of rental stock. 

    Since the announcement by the State Government of a policy for ‘Short Term Rental Accommodation’ (STRA) to introduce a single template to the entire state in 2018, Council has been lobbying that Byron Shire, because of the large percentage of properties being rented on platforms like Airbnb, was unique and  needs something better and more tailored for our community.

    The NSW Government have agreed and asked Byron Shire Council to prepare a planning proposal based on local conditions, including varying thresholds for short term holiday letting, for example 90 days, rather than 180 days and the introduction of precincts.  Further information on the changes can be found on NSW Government Department of Planning Industry and Environment website.

    Strategy Policy 4: Make our neighbourhoods local includes a local planning action that seeks to address short-term holiday letting. This will require further consultation with the State Government and community.