Breaking: The battle is won; the war continues and so to VCAT.

Victory Square 2014 if Lend Lease wins appeal. (Artist's impression.)

200 Stonningtonians were met by TV news crews as they convened at Malvern Town Hall Monday January 30 to witness a glorious moment – a unanimous vote against Lend Lease’s Planning Permit application. It was a rare moment of unadulterated joy for the Orrong Groupies who have campaigned for nearly two years and met the decision with thunderous applause. It was a grand day for local residents who seem to have finally got their democracy groove on – and just in time for the local elections later this year.

All Councillors who were present spoke, all unequivocally against Lend Lease’s plan but perhaps Councillor Claude Ullin put it best when he said: “The plan was like dumping an unwanted car in the front garden.”  Poetry Councillor, pure poetry and an inspiration as you will observe on the left. Councillor Ullin added that he’d never known so many objections to any development application. Bravo everyone. Numbers matter. Special thanks to those who attended. Orrong Group acknowledges the work of both council staff and Councillors over the last two years and is hugely appreciative of the decision. 

So what now?  

It’s not official but we fully expect that Lend Lease will challenge Council’s decision at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) in a bid to build whatever the hell they want, despite our opposition. VCAT will be the final authority on the matter. 

This means that we all have to lodge new, separate objections to VCAT. In the next week or two we will send you all very specific instructions on how to best do that. From now until the VCAT hearing our obsession will be to maximise objections and separately help Council prepare a knockout legal argument. So yes, we’ll be asking you to fill in more forms. Don’t worry – we’ll make it as easy as possible. 

And why, you ask, can’t Council just forward VCAT our existing 600+ objections? Well VCAT doesn’t allow it. How convenient for developers. (They don’t spend millions on lobbying to create free, reasonable and fair planning laws do they?)

Fear not – we have proven to Lend Lease that we are not to be taken lightly. We’re tough enough and smart enough to have stopped them so far; costing them more than a year. We’re now into the final round. Stay tuned, stay angry and help us fight the towers to the end.

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