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Northern Rivers Rob Acton designs dwellings on the Northern Rivers of NSW Australia. His designs suit the climate and lifestyle of this region.

Affordable housing Byron Bay Shire

On 08, Aug 2013 | 2 Comments | In Northern Rivers | By Rob Acton

Affordable Housing is a hot topic Byron Bay Shire

Affordable housing was on the agenda for the Byron Shire Council in 2011.  It was then that they voted to relax the rules substantially to encourage growth in the shire for this sector.

With the development and upgrading of the Pacific Highway the rental market realized a major shortage of permanent or long term rental properties. 

I remember driving to Alstonville one evening to attend a monthly meeting of the northern rivers branch of the Building Designers Association. Listening to the local radio, the announcer claimed that the RTA had been canvassing all real estate agents from Lennox Head to Ocean Shores to secure all rental accommodation for the influx of workers and employees for the highway upgrade which would take about three years.

Granny flats can make great affordable housing

Since that day, Barefoot Building Design has been busily designing a stable full of secondary dwellings (also called granny flats) for the immediate rental market. Just about anyone with a bit of space in their back yard suddenly wanted to take advantage of a golden opportunity to make a little extra cash from their property, subject to council approval of course. The projects range from luxury two bedroom five star apartments to eco style Straw Bale cottages. Some clients just preferred to fill in their under floor space to include a kitchen, bathroom and laundry for their granny to stay for a visit! As long as the development is within the local council guidelines Barefoot Building Design can .

Bigger is not always better

It is an interesting exercise to have to design something so small, as opposed to the usual “bigger is better philosophy”. Once the design process begins we come to realise that we really don’t need much space to achieve a good working floor plan design for a very comfortable home without the large financial burden that usually comes with the old school thought pattern of the McMansion. Barefoot Building Design will always keep a close eye on the design elements that will keep your secondary dwelling building budget in check.


Rob loves the great outdoors and designs buildings to bring the great outdoors indoors. He designs energy efficient solar passive homes that make the most of natural sunlight and climate control. Rob was a licensed builder and qualified carpenter so designs buildings that are cost effective and practical to build. He lives and works primarily in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales Australia but has worked in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and New Zealand.


  1. Hi Bob
    Thanks for your text.
    Having Sunday off.
    Will get back to you in the week about what to do with the back of 137 Stuart St in Mullum.
    Will B

  2. Hello I’m looking to find someone to quote me on building granny flat at mullum. Many thanks leah

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