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Stadium busted for planning breaches

06 Aug 2017

Stadium busted for planning breaches Image

By Shane Scanlan

Etihad Stadium is seeking retrospective planning and building permission for illegal structures on its public concourse.

The City of Melbourne is also calling the stadium to account for illegal outdoor advertising after more than 15 years of operation.

On June 7 the council sent the stadium a “please-explain” for “a number of huts and sheds that have been combined and sited on the concourse of Etihad Stadium without a building permit”.

The sheds extend for about 50 metres on the eastern edge of the concourse and the stadium uses them as a bar and for membership and merchandise sales on match days.

They were prefabricated and installed over a couple of days in March this year.

The shells of six shipping containers offer structural support for the back half of the buildings, but the front halves have been custom built, complete with glass-sliding doors, counters, furniture, disabled access ramps, electrical and data connections.

In the building notice issued to the stadium, the council contends the structures are a public danger, alleging that they “may impede egress in the event of an emergency”.

But consultants for the stadium contend the structures are “minor” and should be exempted from seeking a building permit.

In a submission to the council on June 30, SJB planning associate David Hickey argues that the buildings are “utilitarian” in nature – similar to waste pipes, flues, vents, ducts, security cameras, street heaters and exhaust fans which are exempted under building laws.

Mr Hickey described the buildings as comprising “a total of four retrofitted shipping containers”.

He said planning law provided “a broad scope of changes that could occur” without permission. He said he sought to “identify an exemption for similar minor works”.

On the question of public safety, Mr Hickey claimed the scale and location of the buildings allowed for “appropriate egress”.

On July 6, a City of Melbourne spokesperson told Docklands News: “Several structures have been built on the Etihad Stadium concourse that require planning and building permits.”

“We are working with the Etihad building owners to ensure the structures are fully compliant.”

Continued page 2

 

“Application TP-2017-512, if approved, will ensure the compliance of a garden bar on the stadium concourse.”

 

“The building owners have been granted an extension to submit a planning application regarding a number of movable sheds currently on the concourse, and have until September 7, 2017 to address this matter.”

But rather than seek compliance for its illegal Garden Gate Bar facility, the stadium has opted to apply for planning permission for a permanent facility.

On July 3, SJB Planning applied for a permanent facility on behalf of the stadium, including 2.6-metre-high metal and glass perimeter fences.

Consultant Adam Haines said: “For all intents and purposes, the new buildings and works seek to formalise the existing beer garden arrangement with fixed structures that will be permanent features of the concourse.”

He said the buildings and works were: “contextually modest” and the stadium sought to “make improvement to an existing bar facility”.

He contended that permanent structures would “greatly improve this area of the facility by providing visual interest and improved visual interaction with the broader public element.”

The council is yet to respond to the stadium’s application for exemption from building permission and its application for a permanent Garden Gate Bar.

But it has also emerged that the stadium has never applied for outdoor advertising permission on the concourse.

A City of Melbourne spokesperson told Docklands News: “Outdoor advertising on the Etihad Stadium concourse requires planning permits. There are currently no permits in place. We are investigating the matter, and will work with the building owners to ensure that they are compliant with Council’s requirements.”

An Etihad Stadium spokesperson told Docklands News: “We’re currently working through a building permit process with the Melbourne City Council and the dialogue has been very amicable.”

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