In a recent VCAT case, where a Collie staff member gave expert evidence, there was an interesting issue of public open space required as ‘cash-in-lieu’ but with no intention of meeting demand to serve users of the proposed development.

If you know the area on the Princes Highway around Westall Road in Springvale in Melbourne, you will have noticed the construction (nearing completion) of one of Australia’s largest inner area new ‘bulky goods’ developments – the Harvey Norman / IKEA of over 70,000 square metres of floorspace.

In VCAT procedings, the proponent sought a review of the Greater Dandenong City Council permit condition requiring 5 per cent public open space contribution as a cash-in-lieu payment.

The interesting issue in the case was that there was not nor proposed to be provided public open space within an accessible distance from the centre.

Following arguments, VCAT ruled that the condition was unreasonable and reduced the provision from 5 per cent to 0.5 per cent.  The VCAT decision is worth reading.

[Collie contact is Mike Collie, mjsc@colliepl.com.au].