John Joyner, highly regarded ex senior planning officer at Manningham council, now the principal of Melbourne Planning Outcomes (MPO), has been engaged as the planning consultant for Anne Wang c/-Jiakun Li (designer), the applicant for a three storey development at 51-53 Beverley Street, East Doncaster, to assist at a VCAT hearing in September this year. This is an extraordinary situation where VCAT will now determine the outcome of the proposal instead of Manningham Council because it had contravened section 79 of the planning and environment act 1987 by exceeding the 60 day statutory period for the responsible authority to determine an application.

John Joyner Manningham

John Joyner Former Manningham Planner

The applicant had complied with all requirements, including the advertising of plans etc. by Thursday the 29th of October 2015 but council did not list the proposal for decision until five months later on Tuesday the 29th of March 2016. VCAT informed Manningham council that the proponent had lodged an application on Wednesday the 9th of March requesting the tribunal decide the matter on the grounds Manningham had exceeded the statutory provisions. It is hard to imagine why VCAT, if not the proponent or its consultants, did not inform Manningham council in time to have the matter removed from the agenda set down for the Tuesday the 29th of March 2016. But it went ahead as scheduled anyway with Councillors voting to support council officers recommendation to refuse to issue a permit.

There were several


items in the grounds that were worrying e.g. minimum area for three storeys (1,800 m2) was “preferred”. And further back in the report item 6.5 they say there is no mandatory site coverage limit when there clearly is in the DDO8 schedule. Other than that it will be a Dorothy Dixer. The developer will agree to get rid of the roof feature and adjust some other aspects and they get the three storeys…..that will be the outcome. Whatever happens it will be VCAT and NOT the Manningham council who will be blamed for opening the floodgates and officially making it possible for three storey buildings to be built anywhere within the three sub-Precincts. There were many people who had predicted this outcome.  However it still remains a question of interpretation writes David Willison of RAIDID (Residents Against Inappropriate Development In Doncaster) “Manningham Planner John Joyner, who was familiar with council’s residential strategy, has  found a blatant contradiction between Councils Policy and its DDO8 schedule”. “While the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) indicates a policy of limiting townhouse style development to two storeys on building sites, with an area of less than 1800 sq m, the DDO8 schedule makes no mention of storeys but only of a height limit of up to 10 meters which could comfortably fit three storeys”.

John Joyner summed it up ever so eloquently Submission John Joyner Re 51 Beverley st

Manningham Two Storey

Scale drawing on left is an example of  how a three storey building can be built within 10 metres,The truth is it was always the aim of Manningham  to have them everywhere when it prescribed up to 10 metres and 11 metres without mandating storeys in its DDO8 schedule. It had deliberately misled the community in its Municipal Strategic Statement by indicating two storeys units would occur on land areas less than 1,800 m2.

Les Clark in May 2013 said;

“Consider the 10 meter high, 3 storey apartment next to me in Precinct “A.” It is an example of the peak size that can be achieved on a sub 1800m2 site”.   “The sad reality of the C96 as it stands is that the same design, would be considered the maximum allowed on all three proposed DD08 precincts – there is no “step down.””So DD08 Main road Precinct, Precinct “A”, AND Precinct “B” on a single or double block, are all defined as : Height of ten meters for a sloping site, 60% coverage, same setbacks, really, what’s the difference”?



  1. Reginald says:

    John Joyner worked as a senior planner at Manningham between May 2009 to January 2014, (4 years and 9 months) which would have been in the period which covered the preparation, approval and implementation of the fraudulent C96 amendment to the DDO8. Why has he suddenly discovered the trickery after he left Manningham, why didn’t he speak up about the shenanigans while he was employed there? How many others are there who still work at Manningham who know about it but are afraid to speak for fear of losing their jobs?

  2. Lionel says:

    You can’t blame people who have secure well paid positions for not reporting irregularities within the council planning hierarchy because there is no future for whistle blowers. John Joyner has now spoken out since he left Manningham council, about the spin and bias in favour of developers in the Manningham DDO8 schedule, but it could be very difficult should he ever wish a return to planning.

  3. Less says:

    We tried long and hard to make the regulations clear for all concerned. Removing ambiguity was our chant, in DD08, MSS, then with C96. In the end the councils insistence to ignore all of our recommendations, edits, high-lighted conflicts between MSS , DD08 etc, cannot be taken as anything less than an intentional oversight. We as lay people and Residents saw the loop holes, so the experts must have made conscious choices to leave it this way.
    They will not be surprised by the outcomes.

    1. Lindel says:

      Up to 10 metres (including a one metre leeway for fall) is the maximum height for two storey townhouse style developments, with a higher yield in sub-Precinct B and in sub-precinct A, where the minimum land size of 1,800 sqm cannot be achieved as supported in the design objectives of the DDO8, one metre more than the 9 metre maximum height (no leeway for fall) specified for two storeys townhouses in the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS). The 11 metre maximum height (no leeway for fall) prescribed for developments on land areas of 1,800m2 or more in sub-precinct A is the same in both the MSS and DDO8. Had Manningham used the same height criteria of two storeys as it had for the three storey maximum height specified in the MSS (11 metres) (3+3+3+2) the height allowance for two storey townhouse style developments in the DDO8 and MSS need only be 8 metres (3+3+2) and that would have allowed the larger conventional pitch roof design.
      It is interesting that Boroondara have a limit of 8 metres for two storeys in residential zones.

  4. Talford says:

    How did John Joyner get to be the consultant for the proponent? Nothing wrong with that mind you but it has surely not been in Manningham’s best interests. It would be ironical if he was recommended by someone within the Planning Department. I thought his submission was quite brilliant he has exposed a problem that should be fixed otherwise the strategy will be back in limbo again.

    1. Dave says:

      Joyner’s submission was much the same as what had been said at Vcat though more detailed. The question is why are these issues suddenly being argued they were never mentioned at any of the appeals we attended. You never know there might be more to it than meets the eye, perhaps an excuse for another amendment to correct something else more important.

  5. Talford again says:

    The council minutes of April 2012 indicate that 73 people objected to a three storey apartment proposal at 51 Talford Street, East Doncaster. The building should have been 9 metres high not 10 metres because there was no slope on the block to qualify for the extra one metre. The height of the building finished up being 10.65 metres, 1.65 m higher than it should have been, a clear breach of the DDO8 schedule. There was no loop hole or some technicality in the strategy that might have justified the approval..the planning department had simply cheated to allow the developer an extra storey.

  6. Charles says:

    It was a waste of time objecting to the Talford Street project or any other DDO8 development in that period, because they were still subject to the C50 amendment (2006) which was made discretionary well after it was finalised but never made public. The recent C96 amendment has similar requirements except that we now have mandatory heights and minimum land areas. However, there will be very little distinction between the built form in Sub-precinct A and Sub-precinct B, (Main Road Sub-precinct we think is discretionary) because the maximum heights prescribed make it possible for three storey buildings to be built in either of the two Sub-precincts, irrespective of the minimum land size,…even on single blocks.

  7. Valcurl says:

    When an over development was appealed, prior to C96 amendment, council would always have a back stop by referring to clause 43.02 of the Statewide Planning provisions, (not in Manningham planning scheme) but they never explained it’s significance, it said; “A permit may be granted to construct a building or construct or carry out works which are not in accordance with any requirement in a schedule to this overlay, unless the schedule specifies otherwise

    Which meant council could approve a proposal even though it did not conform to the DDO8 because the schedule did not state the permit conditions could not be varied.

  8. Walker Street says:

    The Manningham Planning Department are still using the old “Heads We Win Tails You Lose” strategy to confuse its own councillors and deceive concerned residents of precinct B. At first we were delighted when the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) was published it said;
    “Sub-precinct B (shown on Manningham Planning Scheme maps as DDO8-3) is an area where single storey and two storey dwellings only will be considered and development should have a maximum site coverage of 60 percent. There is no minimum land area for such developments”.
    Pretty clear you would think…wrong….apparently the MSS is subordinate to the schedule in the DDO8 document which describes two storey buildings as a design objective only, then, as a further gesture of indifference, it sets a height of up to 10 metres which easily accommodates a three storey building! If that isn’t enough I am told there is a State Planning Provision document floating around somewhere that has priority over the DDO8 schedule which has already made the conditions applicable to one of the precincts discretionary….Please!

  9. Mark from Milan says:

    Wondering if there was any news on the VCAT appeal on this development. Nothing has been posted on the Austlii website that I can see so I’m not sure what this means?
    Can anyone provide any advice?

    1. Barbara Carlisle says:

      Failure to determine the application.

      Apparently council had a completed application 6 months ago and did nothing so the developer has been able to go directly to VCAT. It is best you ring VCAT for info or the Manningham CEO Warwick Wynne
      If council fails to make a decision about the application within 60 statutory days, you developer can apply for a review to VCAT. The 60 days must be calculated in accordance with Regulation 31 of the Planning and Environment Regulations 2005.

      If the 60-day limit is approaching, find out from the council planner what the recommendation will be, when the decision will be made, and the reasons for any delay. Reviews against the failure to make a decision are relatively uncommon because council is likely to make a decision before the hearing date at VCAT. However, if a refusal is recommended, it may save you some time in the VCAT system if you have applied for a review under this provision. The appropriate action will depend on the particular circumstances. For more information about applications for review, see VCAT Review.

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