Sunday, May 26, 2024

Kingston disappointed decision on 10-storey development will rest with VCAT

Kingston Council says it is deeply disappointed that the future of a proposed 10-storey development in Patterson Lakes will rest with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) unless the Planning Minister urgently approves interim controls being sought for the land.

Council opposes the proposed development at The Cove and has previously called on the Victorian Government to urgently ‘call in’ the application, something the Minister has not responded to within the required time, it says.

Kingston Mayor, Steve Staikos said Council has been calling on the Victorian Minister for Planning, Lizzie Blandthorn, to urgently intervene on planning matters in Endeavour Cove that are now at a “critical stage”.

“Council took swift action to prepare the Planning Scheme Amendment and consult our community following our review of the report by the Victorian Ombudsman tabled in Parliament in October 2021,” Mayor Staikos said.

“Unfortunately, the deadline for the Victorian Planning Minister to intervene and ‘call in’ the development application has now passed, and the matter will be referred to VCAT. This has left the community very vulnerable to a poor planning outcome.

“The purpose of lodging our interim controls in February this year, was for the Minister to ensure a proper planning process is followed.”

Kingston Council had lodged a request in February with the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning to start a process to introduce tighter permanent planning controls (C205) in the Endeavour Cove area. Permission has only recently been granted to begin this process and a four-week consultation period is now underway.

“In the meantime, Council has continued to ask for interim controls to be put in place to protect the community while the complex process for introducing permanent controls is completed. The Minister has one last chance to immediately act to ensure a fair process is established for all parties and to protect the Patterson Lakes community once and for all,” Mayor Staikos said.

Without the certainty provided through the interim controls, Council wrote to Minister Blandthorn on 1 August, asking her to urgently ‘call in’ and refuse a planning application at Endeavour Cove in Patterson Lakes.

The Mayor said there were significant inconsistencies between the building application and Council’s intended Planning Scheme Amendment for the Endeavour Cove precinct.

“The cart should not be put before the horse, and the Planning Scheme Amendment should be tested before the application is considered,” he said.

“Council has provided all the information requested by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, but unfortunately, we are yet to receive approval for the interim controls, which is critical to maintain the integrity of our planning system.

“The time is now for the Minister to indicate that our community’s planning priorities are as important as other significant decisions before her regarding critical Planning Scheme Amendment issues in Kingston,” Mayor Staikos said.

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