A VCAT ruling has granted permission for a childcare centre to be constructed in Park Street, Inverloch.
The applicants behind the proposal, Mr G Kilby and Mrs M Baker, made an appeal to VCAT after the Bass Coast Shire Council previously refused to grant a building permit for the plans.
The original application for the development of the childcare centre received 32 objections.
Deliberations took place at a hearing on February 20, with residents alerted to the resulting decision via email on Friday.
In May 2016, councillors agreed with objections from residents on Park Street, and vetoed the plan on the basis that the site was not appropriate, as it was based in a residential area that would see traffic congestion increase.
At least 20 residents of Park Street attended the VCAT hearing, and were aghast to hear that the decision ruled in favour of approving a childcare centre at 31-33 Park Street.
The proposed centre would be a single storey building measuring 627 square metres, including four separate rooms for the children, as well as kitchen, staff areas, and 886 square metres of landscaped outdoor play areas.
Placements at the centre are estimated at 115 available spaces for babies through to
children aged six.
The centre is proposed to operate with 13 staff between the hours of 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday.
Vehicle access to the site will be from Cashin Street via a new double width crossover, while 26 car parking spaces will be provided on the site which exceeds the statutory car parking requirements.
“The VCAT member took no notice of the shire council’s decision, nor the neighbour’s objections, and made the decision based on the town’s growing need for a childcare centre,” resident Tad Golian said.
At present, Inverloch has only one kindergarten and one primary school, despite consistent increases in population and the development of the town.
“The VCAT member believed that the local roads will carry the capacity of increased traffic, and that there would be sufficient parking on site,” Tad said.
“They also said that neighbours cannot object to the noise of children, loss of property value, or the childcare centre being a business.”
The decision made by VCAT now sets a precedent for similar large childcare centres in residential zones.
“The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter if the council or a large number of neighbours object, nor if there is a covenant on the property if it is a business permitted to operate in a residential area.
“That’s the way democracy has gone.”