Media Releases 2012

Community victory against 17-storey development in Abbotsford

08 February 2012

VCAT has rejected a proposal for a 17-storey development in Abbotsford, delivering a major victory for Yarra Council and residents against overdevelopment.

In a decision released yesterday, VCAT upheld Council’s decision to refuse to issue a permit to Abbotsford Joint Venture Pty Ltd for the 17-storey development in Johnston Street.

Yarra Mayor Cr Geoff Barbour said VCAT’s decision was a great relief, given the proposal was out of kilter with the existing neighbourhood and would have set a precedent for very intensive development.

Cr Barbour said Council had fought a strong case in VCAT, employing a barrister to defend its permit refusal.

“It is such a relief that VCAT has recognised that a 17-storey development would have stood out like a sore thumb in this low-rise area,” Cr Barbour said.

“The buildings in the immediate vicinity of the site are generally one to three storeys, with one relatively new five storey building in this stretch of Johnston Street,” Cr Barbour said.

“This development would have changed the character of this neighbourhood, and there would have been no going back.”

He said VCAT had reiterated that Johnston Street fell within a neighbourhood activity centre as opposed to a major activity centre, and that development within such an area needed to fit the context and enhance the character of the area.

VCAT found that the characteristics of the Johnston Street neighbourhood activity centre “do not make it an area in which intense or significant change is appropriate,” Cr Barbour said.

He said it was pleasing that VCAT had not accepted the applicant’s argument that developments such as this had to be supported to provide more housing for Melbourne’s growing population.

He said VCAT had instead agreed with Council that while Yarra needs to accommodate some of Melbourne’s growing population, “this does not mean there should be development at any cost on this site”.

“VCAT noted that Yarra was meeting the targets set by the State Government for providing new dwellings,” Cr Barbour said.

He said Council would assess any new application for the site on its merits, but the developer should heed the verdict that an intense development would not be supported.

Here is the doc format VCAT decision on the 17-storey development in Abbotsford (152.50kB)



For media enquiries about this issue, please contact:
Ainslie Gowan
Coordinator - Communications
9205 5177 / 0400 933 700
Ainslie.Gowan@yarracity.vic.gov.au   

 



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