Clegg Road childcare centre refused by the council

Yarra Ranges Council have decided to refuse a building application for a childcare centre as prior to a VCAT hearing. Picture: ON FILE.

By Mikayla van Loon

A building application for a childcare centre on Clegg Road Mount Evelyn has been refused by Yarra Ranges Councillors at last night’s council meeting.

It follows the application already being referred to VCAT on 7 March by the applicant due to the outcome not being determined within the statutory timeframe.

The permit was submitted to council 9 September and was originally listed for the Tuesday 26 April meeting, however the decision was deferred until Tuesday 10 May to address late information coming through.

Council officers first recommended to approve the permit, despite this, Councillor Tim Heenan moved an alternate motion to refuse the build.

Cr Heenan said this was based on the unsafe nature of the plan within the planning scheme, the inability to fit into the neighbourhood character, a lack of road network planning and the proposal fails to respond to the surrounding environment.

The increased risk to pedestrians and particularly the peak time traffic growth from a childcare centre was raised, as the property is adjacent to St Mary’s Catholic Primary School.

Seconding the motion, Councillor Andrew Fullagar said his biggest concern was the traffic conditions and safety even though the Department of Transport consented with provisions.

“Clegg Road is a very busy road acting as a collector and link to Wandin, the Warburton Highway through to Mount Evelyn, Swansea and Canterbury Roads and is getting busier,” he said.

“What a tricky job for that crossing supervisor, I’m sure I wouldn’t want that job.”

Over 60 objections were raised by community members based on insufficient car parking, impacts to adjoining properties, insufficient building setbacks and the location is not reasonable for a childcare centre.

The proposed childcare centre was said to accommodate 120 children and 23 staff.

It was a split decision, seeing three councillors oppose the alternate recommendation but it was ultimately passed with a unanimous vote.

Yarra Ranges Council’s VCAT hearing will be held between 1 and 3 August this year, with a compulsory conference date of 27 May.