Stirling council approves Osborne Park church despite ‘major parking problem’

Margaret Court's church has had a win. Photo: AAP
Margaret Court's church has had a win. Photo: AAP

MARGARET Court’s Victory Life Centre in Osborne Park is set for a major expansion, including a five-storey ‘prayer tower’ and 1800-seat auditorium.

Stirling council granted approval for the development last week, despite concerns over a parking shortfall and compatibility with plans to redevelop the Herdsman-Glendalough area.

The application sought to build the prayer tower, expand the auditorium to 1820 seats, modify parking and access, and extend the ground floor to encompass a new entry point, foyer lounge and offices.

A 350-seat auditorium was approved in 1997 but current plans show it seats 726.

A City report recommended refusal because only 50 of the 448 required parking bays were provided, and said “a major parking problem” would likely occur if approved, which would detrimentally impact surrounding sites.

It noted Scarborough Beach Road landowners Kailis and Wilson Parking agreed for churchgoers to use their bays on Sundays but a legal contract was required, and believed this would still not alleviate parking problems.

Reverend Court said the church would provide a shuttle bus service from the carparks and besides Sunday mornings and evenings, there was a maximum of 150 people on site.

“Osborne Park is empty before 11am and after 5pm,” she said.

According to the report, a recent State Administrative Tribunal decision to uphold the council’s rejection for a church in Balcatta because of a 254-bay parking shortfall was “highly relevant”.

The applicant had provided letters of support from nearby businesses but not permanent reciprocal parking arrangements.

Councillor Adam Spagnolo said it should be taken into account that the church had been there for 21 years with “very little problems” and 104 bays could be accommodated at its adjacent healing centre and food distribution service.

He moved a motion to approve the application, with the church required to submit legal reciprocal parking agreements prior to construction and provide 154 bays within its lots, which was passed.

Cr Suzanne Migdale was concerned the City had not considered requiring a cash-in-lieu contribution from the applicant and urged councillors to think about it in context of the intended future of the Herdsman-Glendalough area.

“We should be very mindful about what we are setting ourselves up for,” she said.

“There’s no doubt there will be parking issues in the future.”

Cr Spagnolo noted the church already used parking marshals on busy days.