On 15 December 2015 the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) handed down a very important decision [Vincent Corporation Pty Ltd v Moreland CC (Includes Summary) (Red Dot) (ag 151215)] regarding the reduction of on-site car parking to zero in a major activity centre.

The case considered a proposal to construct a five storey building previously refused by Council partly due to the zero car parking proposed. The development included 12 apartments and an office, along with zero on-site car parking. In this case the Tribunal over-turned Council’s decision and decided that a permit be granted, subject to conditions.

In deliberating the decision the member considered that the relevant determining factors in this case are the physical constraints of this site, its capacity on site to support the provision of alternative modes of transport, as well as its excellent location, proximate to services and other transport options nearby.

This Red Dot decision discusses current policies for car parking in Brunswick, with wider implications for Melbourne and car parking provision in activity centres. The decision considered both demand and supply management as implied by State Government policy for integrated transport and its application in the assessment of car parking in inner city activity centres such as Brunswick.

The decision includes the following considerations required for a reduced resident parking proposal:

  • Access to public transport, in timing, diversity of routes and frequency.
  • Walkable access from the site to shops and facilities that provide for the daily needs of residents.
  • Access to other transport options including good bicycle infrastructure and walkable access to publically available shared use cars.

A key point with regard to the recent Nightingale decision is that the Tribunal in this instance was of the opinion to disagree with the Tribunal’s comments in Nightingale about visitors needing access to on-street parking that may “be taken up by resident private car parking”.

The Tribunal was satisfied that the car parking impacts will be minor and can be managed through restricted parking areas. In addition the Tribunal, in discussing the Nightingale decision, concluded that any site within the Brunswick Activity Centre has excellent access to public transport.

Similarly, the Tribunal found that the availability of on street parking in the nearby area, is not particularly relevant.

It is important to note that the Tribunal was supportive of the need to make a comparable contribution to neighbouring light wells, where the neighbouring development did not provide adequate amenity for their own development.

In this authors opinion the Red Dot Decision will have considerable impacts on future developments and is a move in the right direction to allow for zero car parking provision in close proximity to good public transport.

More deliberation and debate is sure to follow on this case in the coming weeks.