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Liquor laws put to the test

IT has taken more than one year and cost more than $100,000 but liquor store owner Peter Bradbeer has finally won approval to move his Wembley Liquor Barons operation 600 metres down the road.

After a marathon effort, blocked by just one objection from a competitor based in Innaloo, Mr Bradbeer is moving his operation from Grantham Street to the Herdsman Parade shopping precinct.

Legal sources said the Liquor Licensing Court decision allowing the move was the first test of 1998 Liquor Licensing Authority rules for short removal licence applicants.

Under the new rules moving or upgrading a license to premises that exceeded a distance of 500 metres from the original site would require stricter approval process.

That test is similar to the one that applies to the application for a new liquor store licence and requires the applicant to prove that the existing liquor licenses in the area are not servicing the public requirements for liquor.

Mr Bradbeer said the legal process had cost him more than $100,000 and it had taken a year to determine if he could move into the new premises stipulated in his application to the Liquor Licensing Authority in April last year.

Mr Bradbeer said he had experienced a 70 per cent increase in turnover since he began operating the licence four years ago and needed bigger premises to service the increased trade.

 “Our principal reason for wanting to move is that we are confined by the physical nature of this building and we can’t get any bigger,” he said.

“We struggle like mad with what we have so we wanted to look for alternative premises.”

Phillips Fox chairman of partners Dan Mossenson said this recent case, in which he represented Mr Bradbeer, was the first time the Liquor Licensing Court had applied the stricter test to the short removal of a liquor store licence.

“This sets the ground rules for the short removal of a liquor licence in excess of 500 meters and shows that unless one understands the technical legal test that applies it is quite difficult to achieve,” he said.

“This case shows that liquor store owners who want to move and or upgrade premises beyond 500 meters, the path to get  there has become all the more rocky.”

Mr Mossenson said the application received only one objector, a competing liquor store.

That business was outside the affected area, yet it was most likely this stumbling block that made the process a lengthy and expensive one for Mr Bradbeer.

“If there had been no objection this would have been rubber stamped and dealt with by the director without the need for technical hearings and prolonged court cases,” he said. 

Mr Bradbeer hopes to move into the Herdsman Fresh shopping precinct before Christmas.

Had he not been successful at the Liquor Licensing Court he said he would have had to consider redeveloping the Wembley site – a more expensive option.

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