Supreme Court approves controversial 12 stories for Armadale

Derrick den Hollander

A “shattered” Margot Carroll speaking outside the Supreme Court with Francis Gallichio after the decision was handed down about 590 Orrong Rd, Armadale. Picture by Derrick den Hollander Source: News Limited

RESIDENTS who fought tooth and nail to stop a controversial high-rise development in Melbourne’s inner east are “shattered” by its approval.

The Supreme Court this morning dismissed an appeal of an earlier VCAT decision to approve the 12-storey, 448-apartment development at 590 Orrong Rd Armadale.

Orrong Group spokeswoman Margot Carroll said in theory, developer Lend Lease could start construction tomorrow.

“There will now be 1500-plus people coming into this small area. It is going to be like a little city. The impact is going to be enormous. Armadale’s population will increase by 10 per cent,” she said.

“We’re shattered”.

Stonnington Council Mayor Matthew Koce said Planning Minister Matthew Guy now needed to “step up” and residents and the council had been united in opposing the application.

“It is a dark day for democracy,” Cr Koce said.

“It has been a long wait (for this decision). It has been a long road. We need planning reform. No one wants a 13-storey building going up to their home.”

“I take my hat off to the Orrong Group. Margot Carroll has had her life on hold for four years.”

“It’s a really grim day for democracy. Residents know what is best for their local area.”

There is one last glimmer of hope for those fighting the development.

Planning Minster Matthew Guy is yet to sign off on a planning scheme amendment which would set a height limit of six storeys with a maximum of 250 units and 50 per cent coverage of the Orrong Rd site.

The amendment was passed by Stonnington Council in February, after going through an independent planning panel.

If approved, it would drastically reduce the scale of what Lend Lease can build.

10.30am: A CONTROVERIAL high-rise development in Armadale has been given the green light after a Supreme Court ruling this morning.

Justice Karin Emerton ruled the 12-storey development at 590 Orrong Rd, which will include 448 apartments up to 12 storeys and 18 townhouses, should proceed despite numerous objections from residents and Stonnington Council.

The council had challenged a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision in April to approve the apartment complex, arguing the tribunal had made an error of law in failing to take into consideration the objections and having described them as an “irrelevant consideration”.

The council last year unanimously refused a permit due to the development size and design.

Developer Lend Lease then had the decision overturned at VCAT, despite 627 objections and the unanimous opposition of the council and local politicians.

In handing down her findings, Justice Emerton said VCAT had “comprehensively considered the merits of the proposal, based on proper planning consideration” and the appeal should be dismissed.

PS: See also – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-19/supreme-court-rejects-bid-to-stop-armadale-development-because/4968098?section=vic

PPS: And from Stonnington Council itself –

Dark Day For Democracy as Appeal Is Dismissed

19 Sep 2013

The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal against VCAT’s decision to approve Lend Lease’s permit application for a major development at 590 Orrong Road and 4 Osment Street, Armadale.

Mayor, Cr Matthew Koce said: “This is a dark day for democracy.

“It is disappointing that Council’s appeal has been dismissed.  The permit was unanimously rejected by the Council, local MPs, and residents. A massive 600 objections to the development were received on this planning application proposing 466 units at a height of up to 13 storeys.

“No-one wants a 13 storey monstrosity going up next to their home and VCAT’s decision to issue a permit despite more than 600 objections is devastating for the local community.

“Council took a stand in challenging VCAT’s decision in the Supreme Court and to advocate on behalf of the community for a sensible and responsible community outcome.

“I call on the State Government to urgently reform its planning system.

“The Minister must recognise community views and the angst that occurs when developments are imposed that are not in keeping with neighbourhood character.

“The Minister has the power to ensure planning controls are put in place, which reflect community views as part of the current residential planning zones reform.

“The City of Stonnington will continue to push for a positive outcome for residents concerned about the controversial Armadale development site.

“Residents have a right to speak up and be heard about what’s being built next door to them, especially when they’ll be living in the shadow of such a large overdevelopment of a key site.

“We are once again calling on the State Government to make a timely decision on the Planning Scheme Amendment that has been submitted to the Minister for approval.”

Source: http://www.stonnington.vic.gov.au/news-and-information/whats-new/dark-day-for-democracy-as-appeal-is-dismissed-/

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