Bluesfest Claim Victory In Council Row

6 July 2012 | 6:27 pm | Scott Fitzsimons

Controversial proposal ruled "not in the public interest".

Organisers of the Byron Bay Bluesfest are claiming a "huge win" this afternoon after the Director General of the NSW Government's Planning and Infrastructure department advised Byron Shire Council to scrap a controversial "major events" clause.

The latest development in an ongoing saga between Bluesfest, and its director Peter Noble, and the Byron Council, the dispute surrounds the Byron Events Policy and its restriction on events to be held in the region.

The letter from Sam Haddad, Director General of Planning and Infrastructure, reads, "I have decided... that the Byron Shire proposed “Major Events' Clause, should not proceed.

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"I have formed the opinion that the proposal is not in the public interest, I believe matters of concern to the Council can adequately be assessed through the normal development application process.”

In a release today Noble outlined difficulties with the council and branded - as he has done previously - the proposed policy illegal. He also called "for an audit of the cost to the community's rate payers of the four years of the continuous work on the Policy, knowing they had advice regarding the illegality of the policy and it's attempt to align it to the 1988 LEP, at a time when the council was supposed to be working on the [new] 2012 Local and Environment Plan."

"Everyone in Byron Shire who loves the Arts, who is anti-censorship is pro-democracy and who believes they have the right to place a development application, be it for a swimming pool , building, anything, and expected it to be judged on its merits has had a huge win today," Noble said.

"The attempt was to take away, the basic democratic right of any Australian, if they did not agree with the local government determination for their application and to then decide to go to the Land & Environment court and have their application heard in front of a judge where they may prevail if they felt unjustly treated."

He added that, "Byron shire contains more people on a percentage basis to population involved in the creative industries than anywhere else in Australia and they need to be acknowledged, respected and have their interests advanced by Council now."

The full release can be read here.