A controversial apartment complex in Melbourne's inner south-east has been approved by the state's planning tribunal, overturning an earlier decision by the local council to reject the proposal.
Stonnington Council had unanimously rejected the development in January and more than 600 residents had objected to the plan, but the developers appealed to VCAT. Stonnington mayor John Chandler criticised VCAT, saying the tribunal did not take into account the local community’s concerns. "One has to question whether councils have any meaningful role in the planning for their areas when anything of contention or consequence is ultimately determined by VCAT – whose role, in many people’s opinion, needs to be reined in," he said in a statement.
Cr Chandler also blamed the state government for not granting the council's request to put interim planning controls into effect at the proposed site last year. He said the controls, which determine whether land can be built on, could have prevented the decision.