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The role of VCAT in a changing world
by Stephen Digby - Tuesday, 26 May 2009, 12:03 AM
 

BRAG LODGES ITS SUBMISSION FOR THE REVIEW OF VCAT

SEE ATTACHED FOR THE FULL SUBMISSION

Executive summary:There should be separation between the planning process and the appeal process.

If VCAT is the appeal body then it should not be making planning decisions.
The make up of Tribunal members is queried with a recommendation that members should have a legal background rather than a planning or architectural background . Planners adjudicating upon planning results in professionally biased decisions.

As well as raising the issue of legal representation, the use of professional “expert witnesses”is questioned and we point out that there is a strong argument for parties to make their own case without representation or using expert witnesses.

The role of VCAT should be a court of appeal adjudicating upon whether or not the proposal is in line with council and planning regulations .
Professor Miles Lewis in the attached “The Citizens Perspective” makes a similar argument which also tends to support BRAG’s argument for members having a legal background rather than a planning background.

BRAG is concerned at the percentage of decisions which favour developers (overturning council decisions) compared with those that favour councils and resident objectors and believes that Form B’s lodged in bulk or raising similar issues are not given sufficient weight.

The order of presentation is queried with a recommendation that the applicant/s should logically present their proposal first.

(See attached for full submission)