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The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times
Hannah Neale

'Chaos would ensue': Court rules college car park to remain open

An unapproved car park in the middle of a protracted legal stoush between a community association, a private school and the ACT government will remain open for now, a court has ruled.

The Lyneham Community Association previously took Brindabella Christian College to court over the car park, which they claimed was unsafe for pedestrians, especially students walking to school.

The car park next to Brindabella Christian College's Lyneham campus. Picture by Sarah Lansdown

In November last year, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal ordered the car park close and be demolished within a year if it didn't get development approval.

The car park was first established in 2009, when the land was leased for the school to build a sports facility.

The tribunal found the college went against sublease conditions and zoning rules when it sealed the gravel car park adjacent to its Lyneham campus in late 2016 without development approval.

However, in the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday, Acting Justice Ann Ainslie-Wallace allowed an appeal of the decision to go ahead and ruled the car park remain open until further order.

Lawyer for the school, Brodie Buckland, argued there had been previous "evidence about the chaos that would ensue from shutting down completely".

The court heard the community association would no longer be appearing in court proceedings as they had run out of money.

A lawyer for the ACT government told the court there were "public interest reasons" why the car park should remain open.

Acting Justice Ainslie-Wallace said the school's business manager had stated the closure of the car park would negatively impact students with disabilities, and parents - some of whom were in the late stages of pregnancy.

The business manager had also said it could result in interruptions to the delivery of food and other services.

The judge stated a traffic expert, who gave evidence to the tribunal, was of the opinion the closure of the car park would require parents to find other, less safe, places to drop children off to school.

The court heard the expert also provided a series of recommendations the school was now putting in place.

The case is set to return at a later date.

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