The High Court of Australia has granted an alliance of north Canberra businesses leave to appeal from a decision of the ACT Court of Appeal last November which found that the group did not have standing to challenge the decision of ACT Planning Minister, Simon Corbell to approve a redevelopment of the Giralang Local Centre.
The approved redevelopment includes a large Woolworths supermarket which local businesses say is of a size that would normally be expected to be found in a Group Centre and not in a small local centre such as Giralang. Although an economic impact statement had been provided by the proponent to ACTPLA and the Minister, this was not made publicly available and local business proprietors say the likely economic impact of the new development will be much greater than predicted by the developer.
The Court of Appeal had found that the owners and operators of supermarkets in the nearby local centres of Kaleen and Evatt, who say they will be severely impacted by the new Woolworths Supermarket, could not challenge the Minister’s decision because only economic interests were affected.
The Court of Appeal’s decision has been challenged on the basis that the relevant legislation enables a ‘person aggrieved by’ or whose interests are ‘adversely affected’ by the Minister’s decision to seek judicial review of the decision. The local business owners argue that the Court of Appeal incorrectly applied a different test that denied them standing simply because only economic interests were affected by the decision.
The High Court today granted special leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal’s decision. The appeal is likely to be heard in August or September this year.
A spokesman for the local business owners, Alan Bradbury of Bradley Allen Love Lawyers, said that his clients were very pleased with the decision and were optimistic that, when the appeal is finally decided, the Court of Appeal’s decision would be overturned.