Members of the Roundhouse Action Group foght to keep the Roundhouse site in Ocean Shores.
Members of the Roundhouse Action Group foght to keep the Roundhouse site in Ocean Shores. Kate Oneill

Council to pay own legal fees over Roundhouse project

BYRON Shire Council has failed in a legal bid to have Ocean Shores residents pay its legal fees after their unsuccessful attempt to stop the landmark Roundhouse space being converted into a housing estate.

The Ocean Shores Community Association lost the fight in November to retain the 1.4ha site as public land with 360-degree ocean and mountain views.

The group had tried unsuccessfully to buy the land from council in 2013, and a later proposal to build a cultural centre on the site was rejected.

Now the community organisation has gone to the Land and Environment Court to fight a push by the council and Planning Minister Rob Stokes for it to pay their legal fees.

Justice Nicola Pain found the group had acted in the public interest.

"The council as owner of the land wishes to sell it for residential use to fund other infrastructure throughout the Byron Shire which benefits potentially citizens across the shire and is a matter clearly within the functions of the council," she said.

"This is not a case where the public interest lies exclusively in the applicant's domain.

"I accept that a large number of residents in the Ocean Shores area were concerned about the retention of the Roundhouse site as community land.

"The applicant stood to make no financial gain from the proceedings."

Justice Pain ordered each party to pay their own legal costs.

No mention was made of how much council spent fighting the case. -APN NEWSDESK



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