Why council won’t develop prime Lennox Head site (yet)

A PARCEL of land in Lennox Head, owned by Ballina Shire Council, will not be developed in the near future, amid concerns from councillors about the quickly changing landscape in the village and surrounds.

The site is generally referred to as the Henderson Farm.

At last week's commercial services committee meeting, the councillors voted to set aside $200,000 for the council's share of works for stormwater drainage and an access road.

The work is necessary to enable the owners of the neighbouring property, Lennox Rise Pty Ltd, to proceed with their 190-lot estate later this year or early next year, pending further approvals.

But that doesn't mean the council is ready to develop its own site at least, not any time soon.

The council's property is just over 14 hectares, five of which are zoned R3 medium density and could yield around 60 serviced residential lots.

"Development concept plans have not been prepared, as it has not been a priority to develop the site due to other projects, such as the Wollongbar Urban Expansion Area and the Southern Cross Industrial Estate," the council report states.

"The estimated cost to develop 60 serviced residential lots is in the order of $9 million.

"These funds are not available ... and would require 100 per cent debt financing.

"With the level of debt funding council is proposing to undertake on other projects (WUEA, Southern Cross, airport), it is preferred to keep this project on hold until funds generated from other projects become available."

It's a decision that resonated with Cr Keith Williams.

"As we know there's a lot rolling out in Lennox Head at the moment and I think the community is a little shell shocked by the amount of change," he said.

"I just think we need to be conscious of the impact of the rate of development in Lennox Head in that community."

Phil Meehan agreed it was important to look at the impact on Lennox Head in terms of "ongoing significant housing development".

"I'm not against that, but it is certainly something that is making a very big difference to the make up of that community over time," he said.

"I support change, but what I also support, and I think that this council or a future council … needs to reconsider the places that housing development is occurring in our shire.

"All parts of our community including Lennox Head, Ballina at Cumbalum and also in the Alstonville area, needs support for the growth which our community sees as steady, and at the moment that is not happening."