A SAGA over a plan to demolish Yarrawonga's community hall will continue after Victoria's planning tribunal rejected Moira Shire's claim that a new planning permit negated a continued appeal to save the building.
The Yarrawonga Community Action Group has been fighting to retain the hall, which the council wants razed and replaced with a new municipal library, and had appealed to VCAT.
In a surprise, council's lawyer told VCAT on Friday that the shire had issued a second permit on the basis the Victorian government changed rules in March to allow projects to be fast-tracked as part of COVID stimulus.
It was argued that switch by Planning Minister Richard Wynne removed the rights of community groups to appeal against projects of a certain value.
However, the action group submitted the timing of the original permit being approved last year and subsequent appeal lodging meant its matter should proceed and there was a legal precedent to support that position.
VCAT senior member Geoffrey Code agreed with the argument put by the action group and ordered that a case conference and hearing set for later this year remain in place.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Action group president Jeanette Wilson said her contingent was "very pleased to have that ruling" and felt "vindicated".
"Council will look to proceed the project without delay under the separate permit," Mr Henderson said.
"Initially this will entail finalising the detailed design work and undergoing the procurement process, calling for tenders, and then making the site ready prior to commencing the build."
Ms Wilson wants to see the former Yarrawonga Primary School become home to a new library and the hall retained to allow for major events which she believes cannot be accommodated under the council's replacement plan.
Asked about plans for the old school block, a shire spokeswoman said "council doesn't have a specific plan".
"If it is acquired it will require a detailed urban renewal study as it's a complex site with many buildings involving expensive restoration," she said.
The disused school campus, which overlooks Lake Mulwala, hosted students from 1877 to 2018 when they moved to a site south of the Murray Valley Highway.