Brimbank council must pay $50,000 in hearing fees to the owners of Calder Park Raceway after the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal rejected the council’s valuation of the “complex and unique” site.

A three-day VCAT hearing late last month heard the council had initially valued the site at $22.8 million in 2012.

The raceway’s owners argued at VCAT hearings back in February and March the site was worth only $5.9 million and was no longer a desirable motor sport and race-track complex. A VCAT panel eventually found in April the site was a “sad reflection of its former glory” and that it was worth $10.85 million.

“In its heyday, the main road circuit hosted the Australian Grand Prix, and the Thunderdome was constructed in the expectation that Australians would share the same enthusiasm for NASCAR racing as in the United States,” the panel found.

“However, neither the main circuit nor the Thunderdome has been used for competitive racing for many years.”

The raceway’s owners had demanded the council pay it $67,573 in VCAT hearing costs.

Directing the council to pay $50,000 by October 26, VCAT said that on September 26 the raceway had “many complexities … [which] cannot be considered to be a straightforward site for valuation”.

“VCAT’s determination of the site value of $10.85 million is less than half of the site value contended for by the council,” VCAT said.

“Having said that, we consider it to be also relevant that CPR’s contended site value at the hearing was $5.95 million, well below the site value determined by VCAT. It will be apparent from our decision that we were not entirely satisfied with all of the material provided by CPR and that it was by no means successful on all issues. Its contended value of $5.95 million was not supported.

“It will be clear from anyone who has read our decision that the Calder Park Raceway and Thunderdome comprised a complex and somewhat unique landholding with some novel and difficult valuation issues.”

The hearing also heard of land contamination at the site.