Hobsons Bay City Council will not appeal to the Supreme Court against VCAT’s approval of a 34 metre, 10 storey Williamstown development.
The apartment development, on the Former Port Phillip Woollen Mills site, was given the go-ahead on 25 July.
Mayor of Hobsons Bay Cr Sandra Wilson said Council’s legal advisors had examined the VCAT decision and advised there were no real grounds for appeal.
“We have no real prospect of stopping the development through court action,” she said.
“Appeals to the Supreme Court can only be made on a question of law and the planning merits of VCAT’s decision are not valid grounds for an appeal.
“Even in the unlikely case that Council won an appeal, the matter would simply go back to VCAT for a rehearing, and VCAT could again approve the development.”
Strand Ward Councillor Angela Altair said Council fought the development for a number of reasons including its height, social impacts, and impact on traffic, car parking and amenity.
“Developer contributions would have gone some way to alleviating these burdens but they too have not been required by VCAT.”
Cr Altair said Council’s position for many years has been to protect the mainly low-rise heritage and coastal character of Williamstown.
“We’re more interested in human-scale, European-style density than high rise.
“The fact that Council appointed a solicitor, heritage, traffic and urban design experts to argue against the development at VCAT shows we are prepared to invest in protecting our community’s heritage and amenity,” she said.
Strand Ward Councillor Paul Morgan said it would have cost Council about $70,000 plus costs to make an application for the matter to be heard by the Supreme Court.
“We couldn’t in all conscience commit large sums of money to court action that would almost certainly fail,” he said.
Cr Morgan said Council would focus on advocating on the community’s behalf to ensure the appropriateness of future developments.
“The community have told us they want to see our heritage and environment protected,” he said.
“We will continue to advocate for a review of planning regulations around major hazard facilities, and we will continue to advocate for mandatory height controls and stricter regulations for development contributions.”