My partner and i found 66 acres of land in Campbells Forest, Victoria(just out of Bendigo) in June this year, it had been used for raising sheep/cattle and cropping.
So we headed off to Loddon Shire and spoke to the town manager of planning we explained that we had intentions to buy the land and put on a dwelling and raise some cattle and put in a crop some organic vegies and chickens. After he got the site up on the computer he said it looked straight forward and that he couldn't see a problem and encouraged us to get plans drawn up and submit them with our application. So after spending several thousand dollars having our house and shed plans drawn up we waited eagerly to hear the result of our application, never at any time were we told there would be a problem, after 3 weeks we were contacted and the manager of planning wanted more detailed information all questions were answered to the best of our ability. Many weeks later my partner rang and the response was " i am having a real problem with your application, i can't see how you could make a living on this property". my partner is self employed , semi retired and works from home, so he was told that a answer would be given within the next couple of days, it was nearly the end of the week so i decided to ring, i got a different answer to my partner this time it was because it didn't suit a dwelling and was more for agriculture. The following week my partner rang back and the response had changed again this time he said it was because it was under 100 acres, at no time was this ever said, we make our intentions very clear right from the start and specifically said it was 66 acres. Our advice from the manager was, come and get your application fee back because if it goes to council you won't win because they always heed my advice. Well we stood firm and we actually went to the council meeting and heard our application read out as written by the planning manager, NEVER was it stated that we wanted to farm the land, he made it look like we only wanted to put up a house and live there, no cattle, no crops, nothing, and when one of the councillers asked "what are they going to do with the land" the response was " i don't know as i have nothing in front of me" It did state in the agenda that we wanted to crop and use for animal husbandry but nothing else and it was obvious that the spokesperson for the manager only read out select items and it was more obvious that councillers do not preview the agenda before a meeting. So we lost, we couldn't speak up and say it was read out wrong and we lost nearly $500 in application fee. So what can we do? how can we word this so we can get our application approved if we apply again? is it worth going to VCAT? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.