Occasionally a planning permit is issued with a mistake or clerical error which has an unintended impact on a proposal, particularly where it allows something different to that which was intended to be improved, or where a condition of permit is made unworkable, irrelevant or unclear by that error.
Some examples include; a numerical error in the preamble of the permit, for example the number of dwellings approved or use permitted; an error in a condition of a permit such as a reference to an irrelevant building or noise standard. Where an error is identified, these can be brought to the attention of the decision maker. Correction mechanisms are provided in the following legislation:
With respect to errors made in permits issued by Council, Section 71 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 provides the following:
(1) A responsible authority may correct a permit issued by the responsible authority (including a permit issued at the direction of the Tribunal) if the permit contains—
(a) a clerical mistake or an error arising from any accidental slip or omission; or
(b) an evident material miscalculation of figures or an evident material mistake in the description of any person, thing or property referred to in the permit.
(2) The responsible authority must note the correction in the register.
With respect to errors made in permits issued by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), Section 119 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 provides the following:
(1) The Tribunal may correct an order made by it if the order contains—
(a) a clerical mistake; or
(b) an error arising from an accidental slip or omission; or
(c) a material miscalculation of figures or a material mistake in the description of any person, thing or matter referred to in the order; or
(d) a defect of form.
(2) The correction may be made—
(a) on the Tribunal’s own initiative; or
(b) on the application of a party in accordance with the rules.
We would usually notify either Council or VCAT of the error in writing and then be issued with an amended permit, where appropriate. In the case of VCAT correcting an error made in a decision, on receipt of the amended VCAT Order Council will issue a new permit with the correction in it.
In circumstances where a condition is confusing or impossible to comply with because of an error, reading the Council officer’s report or reasons within the VCAT decision often sheds light on to the intended outcome sought by the decision maker.
There is no fee associated with bringing an error to the attention of the decision maker and it is generally a straight forward way of having (genuine) errors corrected without the permit applicant needing to apply to amend the planning permit via Section 72 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, with its associated costs, time delays and potential for notice and objections.
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