The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal signed off on revised plans despite opposition from the City of Greater Bendigo over concerns it could breach its long term vision for development in the suburb, and neighbourhood character.

VCAT approved the bid to transform land at the Strathfieldsaye Road and Club Court intersection after five days of hearings and site inspections.

VCAT senior member Philip Martin said a medical centre – or pharmacy – at the site would fit well within the council’s planning scheme.

“There are obvious synergies between medical centres providing medical advice/prescriptions and a pharmacy then being able to immediately dispense the necessary drugs or other medical items,” he said.

“Similarly it is not hard to imagine a patron of either of these services then finding it appealing to have some food and/or drinks at the associated cafe.”

The VCAT hearings had been marked by debate about the petrol station, which would rise in a wider area that the council envisioned for homes interspersed by a few businesses.

Mr Martin acknowledged there was a “debate to be had” over the issue but concluded the land was zoned for such a development and would be well placed to take in traffic.

He also said building a petrol station in parts of Strathfieldsaye set aside for commercial uses could end up hurting the council’s hopes for a “retail heart” in the middle of the suburb.

VCAT approved a range of changes developers had made on plans before VCAT’s hearings.

They included moving some buildings farther away from a road to help keep established trees and allow for more landscaping.

Other changes involved the entrances to certain buildings including the proposed medical centre.

“I am content that sufficient effort has been made to create visual interest with how the medical centre/pharmacy building’s western elevation will present to Club Court and likewise with how it would present to the main road,” Mr Martin said.

Extracted in full form: Council loses fight over Strathfieldsaye petrol station, medical centre | Bendigo Advertiser | Bendigo, VIC