Case note: new VCAT car parking decision

01 February 2016

VCAT decisions concerning the availability of on site car parking have attracted much media attention and public debate in recent months.

A new Red Dot decision adds further insight into this issue and reflects an interesting shift in attitude by the Tribunal towards the requirement to provide car parking spaces in new developments.

Vincent Corporation v Moreland CC (Includes Summary) (Red Dot) [2015] VCAT 2049 was a decision of Member Alison Glynn to set aside the decision of Moreland CC and allow the construction of a five storey building containing 12 one-bedroom dwellings and a ground floor office. No car spaces were proposed, however the development offers seven motorcycle/motorised scooter parking spaces and 14 bicycle parking spaces for its residents.

The development site is located at 451 Lygon Street, Brunswick, within the Brunswick Activity Centre.

Moreland CC in its opposition to the application, considered that the inability to provide any off-street car parking resulted in an unreasonable reduction in the availability of on street car parking in the surrounding area. It relied on the Tribunal’s refusal in Chaucer Enterprises Pty Ltd v Moreland CC [2015] (Nightingale), (despite the fact that Moreland CC originally supported this development without car parking) which was a development situated next to a train station. In contrast, this site is one kilometre from the nearest train station.

Member Glynn found that relevant objectives of clause 52.06 included:

  • Ensuring an appropriate number of car parking spaces having regard to the demand likely to be generated, the activities on the land and the nature of the locality;
  • Supporting sustainable transport alternatives; and
  • Ensuring car parking does not adversely affect amenity.

While catching the train might not be an accessible option for residents, Member Glynn noted that the site’s address was included within Moreland and its surrounds’ bicycle network and was adjacent to two tram lines as well as the bus network. It was also noted that there are numerous car sharing options open to residents: five or six commercial ‘car share’ options within 500 metres of the site as well as many privately organised car share schemes.

Member Glynn found that these options satisfy the clause 52.06 objectives and provide alternatives to simply relying on off-street car parking which, as agreed between the parties, should not be relied upon for residents’ use.  Referring to the unsuccessful Nightingale decision, Member Glynn noted that she respectfully disagreed with the Tribunal’s comments that visitors’ access to on-street parking may ‘be taken up by resident private car parking’. Member Glynn observed that:

approving a reduction in resident parking to zero in an inner city location such as this, where on-street parking is in short supply, the assumption must be that the residents of the proposal will not rely on on-street parking.”


Member Glynn’s decision sets out the common themes in the consideration of reducing car parking rates in larger activity centres. These include:

  • Taking a centre wide approach to car parking;
  • Consideration of alternative means of transport such as car share arrangements or electric bicycles;
  • Net community benefit such as sustainable and walkable neighbourhoods; and
  • Inability of residents to access restricted on-street parking.

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