Court overrules decision to block events from BEC

A COUNCIL decision to block the Byron Entertainment Centre from hosting major licensed events has been over-ruled in a Sydney court.

So long as the dates don't conflict with the region's other major drawcards, like Splendour and the Blues Fest, the circus performance group will be able to invite up to 900 people to overnight events, at least four times a year.

The Land and Environment Court heard that since the industrial site was transformed into an art space in 2005, amendments to the development approval had consistently been under dispute.

Past reviews of events found that while the building had "large internal volume", there was only one location - Julian Rocks Drive - where neighbourhood complaints were received and noise management was "consistently found to be well regulated and non intrusive" for Sunshine Beach residents.

There were concerns, however, about lack of car parking and limited public transport options, particularly for events which attracted large numbers of teenagers.

One council report found "public safety issues were also noted for dark unlit streets, alcohol and drug-affected patrons walking along the roadways".

The BEC told the court that in seeking approval for four annual events for up to 900 people it was only consolidating previous development consents.

The council argued no social impact report had been prepared recently to help determine whether having a venue open for almost 24 hours would have detrimental social or criminal impacts.

Commissioner Linda Pearson said she was satisfied it was appropriate to grant consent on several strict conditions which included requirements to provide additional outdoor lighting when crowds exceeded 400 people and approval from council when designating car spaces.

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