Our Green Wedge is meant to be for non-urban uses and our Planning Scheme has rules that try to keep it that way, so when an application was made for a 150 seat licensed restaurant on rural conservation zoned land in Yarrambat - it was bound to be controversial.

One of the rules (the 'in conjunction' rule) says that if a small cafe or restaurant will help an established agricultural business to remain successful, it could be allowed, so long as the agricultural use remains the primary use of the land and the restaurant has an essential connection to the agriculture. In other words, the agriculture must be a genuine undertaking.

In the case of 103 Bannons Lane, supported by the Clarke council, the developer was hoping a mere promise to plant 4 hectares of olives and lemons would be enough to get his restaurant plan approved. Council thought that was OK, VCAT disagreed. The sparse amount of detail explaining how the orchard was to be established and sustained successfully was enough to convince VCAT it wasn't a credible proposal.

The restaurant was refused - an important victory for our Green Wedge!

Read the VCAT decision here.

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