By Brendan Rees
A new kindergarten in Cranbourne next to an existing primary school can go ahead after a ruling from the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal.
VCAT overturned a Casey Council decision to refuse a permit to build a kindergarten at 45 Bakewell Street, Cranbourne after finding a kindergarten would be “complementary” to the area.
Tribunal member Joel Templar said he was satisfied a kindergarten proposed by the applicant, Great Start Kindergarten and Children Services Pty Ltd, was appropriate during the hearing on 11 April.
“I find that the prospect that this proposed kindergarten will largely serve local community needs is high,” he said in his report.
“This is owing to the fact that it is within an existing residential area and also close to an existing primary school.
“Whilst it is possible that children who reside in more distant locations could attend the kindergarten I find that this is unlikely,” Mr Templar stated.
The site, opposite Cranbourne Primary School, is proposed to hold no more than 33 children, and operate between the hours of 9.15am to 2.15pm Monday to Friday.
Council’s grounds of refusal included “non-residential uses in a designated residential intensification area,” car parking issues, and access to waste collection.
Mr Templar accepted parking demand may be “particularly high at peak times” but was not concerned the proposed operating hours of the kindergarten would “conflict” with Cranbourne Primary School.
Director of Metropol Planning Solutions Michael Dunn, who appeared on behalf of Great Start Kindergarten and Children Services at the hearing, said it was disappointing council’s decision had to be appealed as the proposed kindergarten was in an “excellent location” opposite a school.
“Council should be supporting much needed community facilities such as this rather than opposing them on poorly considered planning grounds,” he said.
“It is a great relief to our client to be able to proceed with this facility for the benefit of local families.”
Resident Steve Iverson said parking and road safety was an issue around Cranbourne Primary School.
He said during peak times “everyone is trying to get the same parking spots at the same time.”
When asked if a kindergarten was a welcome proposal, Mr Irving said: “Any facility for children is a good thing,” but added “location is always a consideration.”
“The only problem I would have is the overcrowding of the area,” he said.
“Kid’s safety is the ultimate so I can understand the council having concerns.”
A planning permit application for the kindergarten was granted on 21 May.
“Council assessed this applications and refused it based on concerns about car parking, waste management and the overall impact on the surrounding neighbourhood,” said Duncan Turner, Manager Statutory Planning and Building Services at the City of Casey.
“Applicants can choose to have their matter heard before VCAT, and in this case, VCAT determined that there is enough car parking available and therefore granted the permit for the kindergarten.
“The City of Casey delivers and advocates for infrastructure and services that support our growing city. Development applications are assessed in line with the Casey Planning Scheme to ensure we carefully plan and manage growth in our city in a consistent manner, and that this reflects the community’s overall aspirations for the future,” he said.