In the recent case of Parker Logan Property Pty Ltd v Woollahra Municipal Council [2017] NSWLEC 1349, a development proposal to demolish an existing commercial building and construct a residential building had been refused by the Council on the basis that the proposal had an unsatisfactory disabled parking design. While disabled car parking spaces were included, they did not have a wide side area for disembarkation by disabled passengers. The developer argued that the side areas were unnecessary, because the majority of disabled passengers use rear-loading cars, not side-loading cars. The Council argued that the additional side width would accommodate modern developments in the loading of wheelchairs.

The judge agreed with the Council that the parking designs in the development should aim to provide best practice to disabled users. In coming to this decision, the judge explicitly rejected the developer’s argument that most disabled users would have rear-loading vehicles. The judge noted changes in technology that allow of side-loading, and the requirement that the development have accessible carparks under the Building Code of Australia and associated Australian Standards.

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