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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

18 months later, Woolshed to win a liquor licence

27 Nov 2009

After nearly a year and a half, the Woolshed Pub on Central Pier is to be granted a liquor licence and will open for business.

After originally applying for a general 1 am licence for 1445 people, the pub’s owners will have to operate with an on-premises licence for 675 patrons.
The Director of Liquor Licensing rejected the pub’s original application in January this year.  By the time the pub’s appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) started in earnest in September, it was asking for 1062 patrons until 11pm and 556 from then until closing time.

The ruling means its doors to the south and the east will be closed at 10pm and amplified music will be banned in all external areas of the pub.

Trading in the external areas to the south and east will cease at 11pm but will be permitted outside in the northern area between Shed 9 and Shed 14 until midnight.

The Woolshed’s balcony at the front of the premises will close at 11pm and VCAT has ordered a tray shelf to be removed on the southern and eastern sides of the balcony.

Whilst these rulings have been made, the case is continuing.  Still to be determined are:

  • The impact, if any, of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006;
  • Patron capacity numbers for the external areas;
  • A proposal that patrons in the external areas be seated after 9pm;
  • Whether a 1.8 metre barrier on the southern and eastern boundaries should have only have a single external opening, and the location of such an opening; and
  • The finalisation of a security management plan and standard operating procedures.

It is not know when these matter will be resolved as the judge hearing the case has been promoted to the Supreme Court and is unavailable.

Opposing the Woolshed Pub in VCAT was the Director of Liquor Licensing and Docklands resident Peter Henderson.

Neither Mr Henderson nor the Woolshed Pub would comment on the outcome of the case as it has not yet concluded.

Some 13 other residents filed statements:  Rod Bertram; Paul Hedley; Ronald Clarke; Glenyss Mackenzie; Pamela Pearce; Karl Berberich; Mohammad Aldeen; Helen Henderson; Jeanette Shaw; Dominic Healy; Michelle Velkovski; Dennis Ginn and Simon Delzoppo.

These residents said their amenity was currently being adversely affected by existing licensed premises in the vicinity of Dock 5.

The tribunal heard that when they purchased their apartments they were told (by Lend Lease representatives) that any future development in the area, including on Central Pier, would not disturb their amenity.

Senior Sergeant Peter Seel told VCAT that the Regional Licensing Unit was presently receiving “numerous noise and other amenity complaints from residents in the Docklands area pertaining to licensed venues”.

He concluded his statement by saying:  “In the current climate of patron behaviours I would seriously recommend an objection to any night club venue with patron numbers over 200 anywhere in Melbourne. Experience time and again has shown that a larger nightclub venue, rather than smaller venue, will be associated with problems in and around the venue before during and after the entertainment and migratory issues between entertainment precinct bars and clubs. Melbourne police are having difficulty coping with problems of drunkenness and anti-social behaviour now and this proposal will result in an increased drain on resources and have an adverse impact on the amenity of Melbourne.”

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