June 14 Update from RAiD

Dear Neighbours – a quick update on the status of the post-VCAT decision.

1. As advised in RAID email update 48, VCAT released its decision on Friday, May 17, 2013 and recommended to approve the Woolworths development with no substantive changes to the features important to our community – the towers remain with no reduction in height; liquor availability conditions and sales are unchanged and the impact of the development on the community – transport, parking, traffic – was not considered to be significant.

 

2. Following this, an analysis of the VCAT decision was undertaken by Brand Partners, RAID’s pro bono legal team, who advised of potential points of law to be tested in the Supreme Court.  Given the nature and potential cost of such action RAID has liaised with the MCC to determine their position as to an appeal.  We have been advised that the MCC legal advice does not support an appeal to the Supreme Court.

3. Cr Ong as Chair of Council’s Planning Committee has agreed to provide a written response on Council’s position for circulation to the RAID community.

4. We are continuing to work with the MCC to ensure that the details in the VCAT decision, including the conditions identified, are accurately reflected in the report and are also discussing mitigation strategies associated with the recognised impact of the development eg. parking, traffic management.

5. RAID has sent out media releases to the Age, the Weekly and Leader.  Thank you to community members who attended the photo shoot for the local papers onsite on May 21.  Refer to the attached photo taken by a RAID member on the day.

We will continue to keep you posted on developments via email updates and the website.

Regards

Tess Demediuk

on behalf of RAID @ 3051 Inc.

Press Release the RAiD 3051 response to VCAT finding in favour of Woolworths

R.A.I.D. 3051 Media Release – 21 May 2013

RAID@3051 was stunned by the VCAT decision released late on Friday, May 17 2013 in which VCAT upheld the Minister for Planning’s decision to grant a permit for the North Melbourne Woolworths development, subject only to minor variations. Whilst RAID@3051 acknowledges that the Woolworths development comes at a time when North Melbourne and the Melbourne Planning Scheme are undergoing significant change, RAID@3051 had hoped that VCAT would give some consideration to the concerns expressed by the community and Council.

Instead, VCAT has dismissed outright RAID (and Council’s) major concerns as to incompatibility of height with the Arden-Macaulay Structure Plan, stating that “on many levels this proposal will ‘lead the way’ in terms of the urban renewal that is sought in this precinct, in a manner that achieves a high level of architectural merit and urban design outcomes… We find that the overwhelming opportunity that this site presents to achieve a substantial intensification of development in a location which is extremely well serviced, must be given greater weight than any desire to achieve a development that respects the existing scale of development in the surrounding neighbourhood (refer paragraphs 23 and 14: P2313 2012 Melbourne CC v Minister for Planning (md mp 170513).

RAID is astounded that the Tribunal members praised the Woolworths proposal, given the obvious short comings identified by the community. This decision has trashed good urban design principles and the years of work by Council in developing the Arden-Macaulay Structure Plan – a plan which would have established a 30 year vision for the sustainable growth of the area and which is yet to be implemented into the Melbourne Planning Scheme. VCAT completely ignored RAID@3051’s and Council’s main submission and the clear direction set out in Amendment C162 (and recommended by the Planning Panel) that until the objectives and strategies of approved structure plans are approved and implemented via a planning scheme amendment, the existing local policies for the area will apply. Although, the Tribunal conceded that the development did not comply with the existing local policies.

VCAT’s decision represents a planning outcome which is inconsistent with the strategic direction, policies and controls currently being implemented by Council. More importantly, it undermines the strategic planning process and usurps the power of Council, its panels, submitters and the Minister to plan for the Arden-Macaulay area. There must be no doubt that VCAT’s decision sets a disastrous precedent for planning in the City of Melbourne and more particularly in North Melbourne, and that it has further shaken the community’s faith in the planning processes in this state and in VCAT itself.

Page 1 of 2

This decision opens the gate for the Arden Macaulay precinct to become the new Docklands, an area now universally considered to have serious shortcomings. Whilst the Planning Minister seems determined to repeat the failures of Docklands and ignore its lessons about how NOT to effect urban renewal, RAID@3051 is determined that these mistakes will not be repeated.

RAID@3051 has advice that the decision of VCAT failed to take into account relevant considerations and that the decision can and should be appealed to the Supreme Court. RAID@3051 will be lobbying the Lord Mayor and the Melbourne City Council to pursue an appeal, which we believe would be successful. Any appeal must be lodged within 10 days of the decision issued by VCAT on 17 May 2013.

For further comment or follow up questions please contact Peter Hogg of RAID on telephone 0400 784 779.

Peter Hogg

Chair RAID@3051

VCAT approve the Woolworths Development in its entirety, shame, shame, shame.

RAID email update 48 – sent Monday, May 20, 2013

Dear Neighbours – the wait is over!  VCAT released its decision on Friday, May 17, 2013 to approve the Woolworths development with no substantive changes to the features important to our community – the towers remain with no reduction in height; liquor availability conditions and sales are unchanged and the impact of the development on the community – transport, parking, traffic – was not considered to be significant.  The 50 page decision is attached.

The decision was spectacularly effusive in terms of applauding the development in advising that (bolded emphasis added):

On many levels this proposal will ‘lead the way’ in terms of the urban renewal that is sought in this precinct, in a manner that achieves a high level of architectural merit and urban design outcomes. (Paragraph 23)

AND

We find that the overwhelming opportunity that this site presents to achieve a substantial intensification of development in a location which is extremely well serviced, must be given greater weight than any desire to achieve a development that respects the existing scale of development in the surrounding neighbourhood. (Paragraph 14)

The community view and voice was comprehensively disregarded with the evidence of the ‘experts’ directing the decision.  The RAID planning group met last night and we feel strongly that this decision needs to be challenged. Action agreed on behalf of RAID includes: further legal advice, discussion with MCC, and media releases to ensure that the broader community is aware of this outcome.

We have a photo opportunity tomorrow, Tuesday, 21 May at 3.30pm on the corner of Vaughan Terrace and Canning Street.  Bring along your NO WOOLWORTHS TOWERS posters.   

Please let your neighbours know of the outcome.  We will keep you posted on developments via email updates and the website.  Please let us know if you have any ideas for raising awareness and challenging this decision.

Regards

Tess Demediuk

on behalf of RAID @ 3051 Inc.

 

Autumn RAiD3051 Update

Dear Neighbours – this update provides advice regarding a further delay in the availability of the VCAT outcome which was originally expected by the end of March and then, as per advice in the last email update on March 23, by mid April.  The issue holding up a decision relates to a covenant on one of the properties comprising the review site. This requires application to Melbourne City Council by the applicant – Fabcot/Woolworths.

What has happened: An Interim Order was issued on March 12 by the VCAT Chair and Member hearing the case giving the applicant and MCC “some time to deal with the restriction on the title” which VCAT considers must be addressed prior to the issue of a Final Order.  The two parties were requested to advise on the status of the restriction by April 12.  In a letter to VCAT dated April 11 the applicant requested additional time therefore the Mention Hearing scheduled for Friday, April 12 did not occur.

RAID’s response: Jane Good of Brand Partners, our neighbour and legal advisor, who has supported our case at VCAT on receiving this advice questioning procedural grounds referencing Section 85(1) of the Planning and Environment Act and proposed that, as the hearing has concluded, VCAT is required to make a decision.  Given that there remains a covenant on part of the site then the permit cannot be granted.

VCAT response: Recently a response has been received from VCAT which disagrees with RAID’s position on procedural grounds.  This further VCAT Interim Order advises that the “hearing is not concluded and may, at the Tribunal’s discretion be reconvened, either at the Tribunal’s instigation or at the request of any party.  We therefore are not persuaded by RAID’s submission on this procedural matter, and do not agree that we are now bound to direct that a permit must not be granted”.

Implications for a final VCAT decision: VCAT has deemed it appropriate to allow additional time to resolve the removal of the covenant and has set May 17, 2013 as the date for another Administrative Mention.  Given this the earliest we can expect the VCAT final decision is now mid-late May.

Regards

Tess Demediuk

on behalf of RAID @ 3051 Inc

Killing me softly?

Not much to report except that there is a planning application notice up on the Woolworths site regarding the removal of the covenant. This is the covenant that humbled & de-railed the Woollworths VCAT “tour de force”, it showed no matter how much money you throw at something and how many lawyers you have, it is alway good to pay attention to details when you do your home work.
The hearing at the MCC Planning is set for the 17th of April, so I assume we can all object if we would like. Go down and have a read of it it. The most visible one is on the Boundary Road Street frontage opposite the smash repair centre. You have the right to contact the councillors and let them know you expect them to use their leverage on behalf of the community and at a minimum to bring the project into line with the structure plan.

The notice looks like this sample from Darebin.

Sample planning notice - plan app 3
Assuming the MCC let the covenant go in one shape or another then it is back to VCAT to make a ruling.
In the mean tine enjoy the newly reopened Arden St Oval, a cricket ground with no nets ! It does look special in Autumn as always.

RAiD 3051 Woolworth appeal VCAT appeal case

RAiD 3051 a small North Melbourne residents group standing up for integrated planning and good social outcomes for North Melbourne residents is in VCAT

Small Victory in the trenches – Woolworths front Autumn 2013

Dear Neighbours – this update provides advice regarding a delay in the availability of the VCAT outcome which was expected by the end of March.

Jane Good of Brand Partners, our neighbour and legal advisor, who has supported our case at VCAT including instructing our barrister, Mr Ian Munt and expert witness, Mr Angus Witherby, received notification from VCAT on Friday, March 15 that due to a covenant on one of the properties comprising the proposed development site the VCAT Members are unable to make a decision on the application.  To explain the situation the following draws on information from the VCAT Interim Order (dated March 12, 2013).

The issue: One of the lots that comprise the review site is affected by a covenant, in that it is to provide car parking to the benefit of another lot which comprises part of the review site. The process requires the Permit Applicant (Fabcot / Woolworths) to make a separate planning permit application to the Melbourne City Council, as the responsible authority, to remove the covenant.  It is noted that parties at the hearing did not object to the removal of the covenant.

It is also noted that the Planning Minister has no authority to issue a Notice of Decision until such time as the covenant is removed. This is therefore embarrassing for both the Minister and the applicant (Fabcot/Woolworths) and should have been actioned BEFORE the permit application was lodged.

Required steps: Until the permit has been granted by the Melbourne City Council (MCC), the VCAT Members will not make a decision that could affirm or vary the decision of the Minister for Planning to grant a permit.  A Mention Hearing for 12 April 2013 has been scheduled by the VCAT Members at which time the status of the removal of the covenant application is to be advised.

If the City of Melbourne decides NOT to remove the covenant Fabcot/Woolworths will be obliged to take the matter to the Supreme Court which will likely result in further delay and cost for them.

Implications for VCAT decision: Until the covenant is removed through the granting of a permit by MCC the VCAT decision will not be available.  Given this the earliest we can expect the VCAT appeal decision is now mid April.

 

INF3-96 Food Production Dig for Victory Artist Peter Fraser

VCAT Hearing – dont forget you can come even in your lunch hour.

Hey RAiDers get on down to VCAT and show your support for our great community and tireless RAiD committee members who are fighting the good flight. Here is the address and room details . We are lucky to live in a democracy that allows us to put a fight even if it us a bit asymmetrical, us a small community verses one of the most powerful companies in Australia.

RAiD 3051 Woolworth appeal VCAT appeal case

RAiD 3051 a small N. Melbourne residents group  we stand for integrated planning & good social outcomes for N.Melbourne residents at VCAT & every where.

Room G.1 – Member M. Deidun & Member M. Read
10:00 AM P2313/2012 Kaye Oddie, Melbourne CC, Residents About Integrated Development 3051 Inc, North & West Melbourne Association Inc v Minister for Planning
101-117 Canning Street, North Melbourne

RAiD News final update Sunday 24 Feb

Firstly good luck to the legal team for RAiD 3051, the committee members and expert witness’s facing the might of the Woolworths legal team and any support they maybe garnering from the Minister, his office, its associates and allies who seem to be supporting this and a number of large adhoc projects across the beautiful state of Victoria.

Dear Neighbours – one final update prior to the commencement of the VCAT hearing tomorrow morning, Monday February 24:

The community gathering following the opening of the Errol Street Reserve on Thursday afternoon was a spirited and positive event. At the gathering it was reported that the RAID legal team has brought together a strong community case and we look forward to making inroads into gaining significant changes to the current proposal from Woolworths at VCAT. Refer to attached photos from Thursday night taken by Gary Bateman.

Posters are available – it will be great to have the neighbourhood covered with the latest RAID poster – NO WOORLWORTHS TOWERS. It is anticipated that the VCAT Panel Members will conduct an onsite visit –seeing a prominence of posters will aid our community expectations of the development. Please advise by return email how many posters you would like and where to drop off.

Thanks to all who have responded re availability to attend VCAT over the next seven days. We now have all of the morning and afternoon sessions covered with one, sometimes two, RAID members committed to attending. If you find you have the time please feel free to attend – there is no restriction on your entry to and from the Hearing if you only have limited time. As a reminder please note that this is a formal court and behaviour in the public gallery must be appropriate eg. no calling out, interrupting etc. Any such behaviour will damage our cause. The VCAT address is 55 King Street between Collins and Flinders Sts. 55 tram from Flemington Road superstop (at Abbotsford St intersection) along William St is a good public transport option.

Again thank you to all RAID members who have donated to the RAID VCAT appeal – we are close to meeting our $10,000 target! However as previously advised we are being provided with significant pro bono legal representation from Jane Good, Brand Partners. Any excess RAID VCAT funds will be offered to Jane to offset some of the real costs of her work with us over the past 6 months.
· Make an e-donation at http://www.givenow.com.au/raidat3051
· Electronic transfer to the RAID bank account: MECU (Bankmecu)
Account name Residents About Integrated Development at 3051
BSB: 313-140 Account No. 12035276
· Cash or cheque made out to RAID @ 3051 Inc. – arrange for pick-up/drop-off by contacting tess.demediuk@gmail.com or phone 0413 017 317

Finally, as far as practical we will be attempting to get out a daily up date as to what has occurred at VCAT that day.

Regards

Tess Demediuk

on behalf of RAID @ 3051 Inc

Lets work together Woolworths its a community we will struggle on.

Lets work together Woolworths its a community we will struggle on.

RAiD Function at the Errol Street Park Opening

A great turn out on a humid afternoon to the official opening of the new park next to Errol St Primary School. The Park was opened by the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and Councillors Ken Ong and Cathy Oak were also in attendance.

RAiD 3051 met for a final time after the official opening at the park to offer thanks to all those who have helped us get to VCAT and to answer community questions before the hearing. It was great to see Cath Bowtell candidate Labor for Melbourne & Adam Bandt current Member for Melbourne both there showing support.

RAiD 3051 members meet and have a Q&A with the public

RAiD 3051 members meet and have a Q&A with the public

Event at Park opening 21 Feb 2013 008

Event at Park opening 21 Feb 2013 009

Event at Park opening 21 Feb 2013 010

Event at Park opening 21 Feb 2013 011

Event at Park opening 21 Feb 2013 012

Event at Park opening 21 Feb 2013 013