A LONG ROAD: Dickson resident Jane Goffman says the tribunal victory was only possible because more than 100 of her neighbours gave their time.  PHOTO: MELISSIA ADAMS
A LONG ROAD: Dickson resident Jane Goffman says the tribunal victory was only possible because more than 100 of her neighbours gave their time. PHOTO: MELISSIA ADAMS

A team of very dedicated experts and residents have come together to stop a 10 multi-unit development in Dickson using the appeals mechanism of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. To read the full ACAT decision and get some appreciation of the hard work done to win this appeal click here to read the decision. The following article which provides some background was extracted from the Canberra Times on Wednesday 01 February 2012.

Residents win battle to stop units

01 Feb, 2012 01:00 AM

A group of Dickson residents are celebrating victory in one of Canberra’s most high-profile planning battles of recent years.

The 18-month fight against a plan to build a small apartment block on leafy Marsden Streetgrew to symbolise similar struggles throughout the inner north, as residents revolted against what they saw as the threat posed to their streetscapes from urban infill policies.

The plan by developer David Milin to knock down numbers 55 and57 Marsden Streetand build 10 units on the site was unpopular with residents from the moment it was lodged in 2010. The application was withdrawn but an amended version was approved by the ACT Planning and Land Authority despite the successive versions of the application attracting 130 objections.

Alongside the planning battle, the residents were also waging a well-organised media campaign that included allegations on ”collusion” between planning authorities and developers and a call, in the pages of this newspaper, for the abolishment of the authority. There was even a short film posted on video-sharing website YouTube, depicting the objectors’ fears that their street would become choked with cars if the building went ahead.

The authority approved the development in August last year but within four months the matter was before the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal as the residents, led by one of the neighbours, Jane Goffman, a town planner, and represented by another, barrister Wayne Sharwood, pursued their objection.

The tribunal did not accept all the residents’ arguments but found on balance that there was too much non-compliance with planning rules in the application to allow the development to go ahead. ”The proposed development is inconsistent with the Territory Plan and therefore cannot be approved,” the senior member of the tribunal wrote in the decision. ”The deficiencies are significant and are not capable of being remedied by the imposition of conditions.”

Ms Goffman said yesterday that the proposal had struck at the heart of the character of the street. ”This development threatened the long-term amenity and liveability of the area, which attracts a culturally diverse mix of household types, and that’s one of many positive features we want to safeguard,” she said. ”Very importantly, the approval initially given by the Government violated its own planning laws.”

But Ms Goffman said that other communities aroundCanberramight not have the expertise available to them to allow battles to be fought against planning agencies. ”This was a big win for our community,” Ms Goffman said. ”But it was only possible because over a hundred residents, including a range of technical experts, gave their time selflessly. Many communities cannot afford such appeals.”

Mr Milin, who has rights of appeal to the ACT Supreme Court, did not respond to request for comment yesterday.

Note: copyright of the material in this clipping resides with Fairfax Media. Usage permitted in accordance with the Australian Copyright Act 1968, Section 42: Fair dealing for purpose of reporting news. Source: The Canberra Times – 01 Feb 2012


  1. ACTPLA appears to rely on residents living in the Section in quesiton to find flaws, and non-compliant inclusions, in Development Application plans. This being the case, why are we paying for an ACTPLA at all?

    Anthony Owen
  2. As I understand, this is only one of many developments (ie Eggelstone St Chifley) in Canberra approved by ACTPLA that did not comply with planning rules. It would be worth finding from the appeals tribunal how many similar applications have been or are currently being considered.

    Are developers who have been misled by ACTPLA entitled to financial compensation?

    Posted by David, 1/02/2012 7:59:43 AM, on The Canberra Time


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *