A new medical centre and pilates studio will be developed at 2 Laurel Street, Whittlesea following a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, VCAT, decision to grant a permit with altered conditions.

City of Whittlesea had granted the permit, however the matter was taken to VCAT to increase the number of practitioners allowed from four to five and decrease required parking spaces from 16 to 11.

VCAT member Alison Slattery granted the permit and varied the conditions requested by the developers.

“The limitation of the maximum number of practitioners to five, consequently limits the number of car parking spaces that are required. This is appropriate and helps to reduce the impacts of the medical centre on the surrounding area,” she said.

“The appropriate question before me is not whether this proposal should be allowed to present additional traffic and parking volumes that will increase the existing congestion on the arterial road network.

“Rather I need to be satisfied that the proposed parking access and egress arrangements provide for safe and manageable traffic movements to the surrounding road network.

“Whilst it was put to me that parking capacity opposite the dentist and medical centre is full, with the on-street parking spaces ‘taking up the slack’ … I am satisfied that the wider area provides appropriate parking availability without needing to unreasonably rely on private parking in front of the care.”

The development involves demolishing an existing dwelling at 2 Laurel Street to construct a double-storey medical centre and pilates studio.

Under the new conditions, the facility can now have five practitioners at any time, including a pilates instructor, and will provide 11 car parking spaces in the rear frontage.

The medical centre will operate Monday to Friday, from 7am to 10pm, and Saturday and Sunday, from 8am to 9pm.

“I am satisfied that the review site represents an appropriate location for a medical centre of this extent. The form provided is reasonable and will fit within the streetscape,” Ms Slattery said.

“I find that need for the use is not a determining factor in the assessment, but that the use will be nonetheless a beneficial addition to the area in providing a locally convenient medical centre.

“A medical centre, even one that provides for services in a limited catchment area, will provide an essential community service that might well cater to the needs of residents further afield in Whittlesea in addition to immediately located residents.

“I have been satisfied that the proposed use will be of benefit to the residents of the area, both now and into the future, without unreasonably impacting on the character or amenity of the area.”

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