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Licensing is back in the news in Docklands

28 Sep 2010

Liquor licensing is back in the news in Docklands with two cases creating interest – an application by the Woolshed Pub to expand numbers; and the resurrection of the Uber Bar application for St Mangos Lane, NewQuay.

The Woolshed has gone back to the Liquor Licensing Commission to seek permission to open its “back bar” area for two extra hours to the general public.  The Woolshed has a licence for 311 people for this area but only until 11pm – except for pre-booked events, when it is allowed to trade until 1am.

It’s application to the Liquor Licensing Commission seeks to align its trading hours for their internal areas to 1am.

It argued its case in a panel hearing on September 6 and was supported in its application by some Dock 5 residents.

Opposing the application was the City of Melbourne and Dock 5 resident Peter Henderson on behalf of the “Group for the Preservation of the Dock 5 Amenity”.  A decision is yet to be released.

The Woolshed Pub took 18 months to get its licence after originally applying for a general licence for 1445 patrons.  It was finally granted an on-premises licences for 675 people.

And in NewQuay, local businessman Chris Ellis has renewed his bid for a small bar in St Mangos Lane, with an application to a Liquor Licensing Panel hearing on September 23.

Mr Ellis is seeking a licence for 57 patrons for an upmarket wine and cocktail bar in the MAB-owned premises at 29 St Mangos Lane.  MAB Corporation failed to sell the property at auction on September 10 but it is clear that if Mr Ellis’s application issuccessful, he’ll be opening for business.

NewQuay precinct manager Simon Duffield said the Uber Bar would be welcomed “with open arms.”

Mr Ellis originally lodged his application last November but appeared to withdraw his application after opposition from residents emerged early this year.

Mr Ellis said personal matters forced him to put his application on the back burner.  He said it was “black and white” case – if he was granted a licence, he would proceed and, if not, he wouldn’t.

In both the Woolshed and Uber Bar instances, they are now making application under a new political regime.  Former Liquor Licensing Commissoner Sue Maclellan was replaced in May by Mark Brennan.  

Ms Maclellan was renowned for her hardline approach to issuing licences against a background of increasing alcohol-fuelled street violence in Melbourne.  

It was Ms Maclellan who in January 2009, rejected the Woolshed’s application outright, despite a panel recommendation for conditional approval.

Mr Brennan’s appointment in May was widely welcomed by those adversely affected by Ms Maclellan’s decisions.

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