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New liquor licensing row

30 Oct 2009

Another liquor licensing row has erupted in Docklands, this time over a proposed tavern in the redeveloped historic Goods Shed North which runs between Collins St and Bourke St opposite Etihad Stadium.

The City of Melbourne is objecting to an application for an on-premises licence for 750 patrons at Platform 28, with the chair of its planning committee, Cr Peter Clarke, accusing the Planning Minister Justin Madden of hypocrisy for issuing a planning permit.

Cr Clarke said the Government had acknowledged that large establishments were problematic for local amenity and yet it continued to support them.

A spokesperson for Mr Madden said the issuing of a planning permit should not be thought of as endorsement.  She said the tavern was located in a prescribed entertainment precinct and the application was determined on purely planning grounds.

But counsel representing Village Street Pty Ltd, Nick Tweedie, told Liquor Licensing panel member Tony Ryan on October 28 that the issuing of a planning permit indicated the appropriateness of the application.

Mr Tweedie also said the application had been advertised, but that no Docklands resident had objected.

The president of the Docklands Community Association, Roger Gardner, said he did not know about the liquor licensing application.

He said Mr Madden’s granting of a planning permit flew in the face of efforts to reduce violence and a booze culture in the city.

“We do not want more drunken violence. The encouragement of a booze culture in the area and resulting behaviour problems does nothing for the image of Docklands and works against the efforts of the Government to promote it for business and tourism,” Mr Gardner said.

Cr Clarke said Docklands had already more than enough licensed premises but it appeared the Government “had run out of ideas” for developing the precinct.

He said accused VicUrban of “creating the whole set of circumstances” and said it was inappropriate for the Government to be both developer and planning authority.

VicUrban’s General Manager Project Planning and Innovation, David Young, supports the proposal.

“As Docklands master developer, VicUrban is aware of and supports Equiset’s plans to transform Village Street into an food and beverage lane way environment, reminiscent of some of the iconic CBD laneways Melbourne is renowned for,” Mr Young said.

“VicUrban considers the proposal a key component of delivering diversity, vibrancy and character to this area of Docklands.”

A spokesperson for Equiset said: “We are pleased that the planning permit has been granted to the operator based on the design and proposed use for the premises.”When the Docklands News went to press, no decision on the application had been made.

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