The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is an independent tribunal that hears and determines a range of disputes. If you are dissatisfied with a planning decision made by Council, you can apply to have the decision reviewed by VCAT.
VCAT is a Victorian Government body that appoints panels for planning disputes. Panels are usually made up of planning professionals, lawyers, engineers, and architects. The VCAT website has information and resources for people considering appealing a Council decision.
Council's decision and types of VCAT appeals
When Council assesses a Planning Permit application, the possible outcomes are:
- If there are no objections and the application is supported, Council issues a Planning Permit.
- If there are objections, but the application is supported, Council issues a Notice of Decision to grant the permit.
- If the application is not supported, Council issues a Refusal to Grant the Permit.
After Council has made their decision, common appeals to VCAT are:
- The permit applicant appeals against Council’s refusal to grant the permit.
- The permit applicant appeals against conditions Council has imposed on the Planning Permit.
- The permit applicant appeals against Council’s failure to decide on their application within 60 days (a failure appeal).
- An objector appeals against Council’s decision to issue a Notice of Decision.
Appealing a Council decision to VCAT
Permit applicants have 60 days from the date of the decision to lodge an appeal with VCAT and objectors have 28 days. A permit applicant can also lodge a failure appeal if Council has not decided on an application within 60 days.
If Council refuses to grant a Planning Permit and the permit applicant appeals the decision, a neighbour who objected during the application process can become party to the appeal and support our appeal. Learn more about objector participation in VCAT appeals.
The City of Stonnington at VCAT
The City of Stonnington will always appear at VCAT in planning matters, a quarterly update is provided to Council summing our activity and outcomes.
Update: April to June 2022
Council was part of 19 appeals that were determined by VCAT in the second quarter of 2022 slightly lower than the normal range of 20-25 cases per quarter.
The outcome for Council from these 19 appeals was:
- Seven outright wins (37%
- Four positions of consent were reached (21%) (these are positive outcomes as Council only consents to the matter being settled if it is satisfied with the outcome)
- Six cases were lost (31.5%)
- A remaining two matters were withdrawn before the hearing (10.5%).
A significant decision this quarter relates to an application at 173 Burke Road, Glen Iris. This was an applicant appeal against Council's refusal of a six-storey mixed use building that proposed a supermarket and bottle shop at ground floor and 85 apartments above.
Council officers refused the application under delegation on grounds relating to excessive height and scale, unreasonable amenity impacts on surrounding land, traffic impacts and concerns with waste management. Council received 198 objections to the proposal from surrounding residents and business owners. The key themes raised in objections were traffic and parking concerns and concerns with the excessive scale of the building. Of the 198 objectors, 30 became parties to the VCAT Appeal.
The hearing was originally listed for four days, but given the high number of objector parties, was extended to 12 days. At the hearing, the permit applicant called seven expert witnesses. Council called two (traffic and urban design), and the group of objectors called one (traffic).
After considering the proposal and submissions, VCAT found in favour of Council and the objectors. The Tribunal found that the loss of on-street parking and traffic impacts were not acceptable. The Tribunal also found that the built form was not respectful of the local context. On this basis VCAT affirmed Council's refusal and directed that no permit issue.
Read more about this VCAT decision.
A second decision of note relates to 935 & 941-951 High Street, Armadale. This was an appeal against Council's refusal of a six-storey commercial building. Council officers refused the application under delegation on grounds relating to; building height and scale, impacts on heritage fabric and significance, failure to meet requirements of the Design and Development Overlay 19, amenity impacts on adjacent sites, impacts of the vehicle access on the retail frontage, and failure to provide an acceptable response to environmentally sustainable development policy.
VCAT found that there was strategic support for a multi-storey commercial building on the site. However, the proposal before the Tribunal failed to provide an acceptable outcome in relation to the heritage significance of the area and the built form of the proposal. On this basis, VCAT affirmed Council’s refusal of the application and directed that no permit issue.
Previous quarterly updates
Quarter 1 2022(PDF, 938KB)
Quarter 2 2022(PDF, 375KB)