Daylesford residents who argued against developments in Ruthven St and Smith St were vindicated at VCAT recently.

Ruthven Street

In August last year Council rejected a planning application to build two dwellings in Ruthven St, Daylesford on land with a direct boundary with the Lake Daylesford Reserve. Nearby residents objected that the proposal was out of keeping with the neighbourhood character and was an overdevelopment of the site.

The application had been recommended by the Council officer, which was one of the grounds on which the applicant appealed the decision to VCAT.

However, in an order handed down last Friday, VCAT affirmed the Council’s decision and rejected the application.

Julien McDonald, who attended the VCAT hearing, welcomed the decision. “It was tremendously heartening that Hepburn Shire Councillors and VCAT listened to the concerns expressed so passionately by local residents.  It is a huge relief to local residents that the beauty of the Lake Daylesford precinct will not be jeopardized by the  proposed large development which was so inappropriate to the site and out of keeping with the neighbourhood.”

Developments at 17 Smith St

In March Council approved a permit for sixty-eight houses in a development to be accessed from Smith St. The application drew strong objections from across the community and some residents decided to take the decision to VCAT.

At its first Practice hearing, VCAT determined that the community’s objections were valid. Then, at a subsequent VCAT mediation, the Council planning officer, the developer’s lawyer and the residents were unable to come to an agreement.

A representative of the objectors said this week “As part of this appeal we have learned that the land at 17 Smith Street is earmarked by council for development (zoned general residential), which means at some stage something will happen there. That being said, our job is to argue how incongruous this subdivision is to our town.”

The objectors have developed a counterproposal which creates

  • a second permanent entrance,
  • a reduced number & greater variety of lot sizes reflective of surrounding area,
  • land set aside for retention and restoration of a drainage line to better treat stormwater, provide green space, purify water, & buffer neighbouring farm
  • better protection for established trees by allocating space around them
  • recreational areas for play & public use

They are asking for feedback and more ideas about how to make the development more acceptable to the community at large.

The VCAT Hearing to finally assess the application will be held in March.