Opponents of a multi-storey apartment development approved for construction on the former Transdev bus depot site in Seddon have issued a last-ditch plea to Maribyrnong Council to fight the project in the Supreme Court.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last month gave the green light to ANPLUS Developments’ plans to build more than 400 apartments and townhouses across four buildings up to 11 storeys high – almost double the site’s preferred height limit.
The proposal for the 1.4-hectare site at 43-57 Buckley Street is likely to add 1000 new residents to the area, increasing Seddon’s population by close to 20 per cent.
But residents who raised concerns the project was an over-development of the site are calling on Maribyrnong Council to appeal to the Supreme Court on the grounds the decision “manifestly errs and grossly undermines” legitimate community expectations.
More than 400 people have signed an online petition asking the council to launch an appeal.
“The Maribyrnong planning scheme makes clear that the development must be medium density at most and the current proposal is up to 11 storeys in height, with about 400 dwellings, which is double the recommendation,” the petition states.
In approving the development with minor amendments, VCAT presiding member Michael Deidun and member Ann Keddie found the council’s six-storey preferred height limit for the site was a “discretionary control” that can be exceeded according to the merits of an individual proposal.
The pair’s ruling found the project created an acceptable transition in scale from the larger buildings to the adjacent low scale residential area and that the provision of public open space “provides a context which supports the achievement of greater building heights elsewhere on the site”.
But Seddon resident Ben Hopper said the decision makes fundamental errors of law.
Mr Hopper has written to the council on behalf of petitioners, claiming that a reading of the planning scheme makes it crystal clear that the site should only be accommodating medium-density development at most.
“The community has legitimate expectations that the planning scheme will be followed,” he said.
“The decision grossly undermines these legitimate expectations. For the sake of your community and for the sake of the proper administration of planning law in this state, the VCAT decision must be appealed and corrected by a court of law.”
Star Weekly understand Maribyrnong Council has received legal advice and concluded that it will not be seeking to appeal by the October 9 closing date, but will be further discussing the matter internally.
The council has been contacted for comment.