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Pub brawl a Northbridge concern

COUNCIL faces a planning quandary in Northbridge as more pubs push for extended trading hours.

At its July 11 meeting, council considered three applications from hotels wanting to extend their trading hours.

Hoteliers want extended trading to compete with the nightclubs in Northbridge.

While the power to extend liquor licences is the responsibility of the Director of Liquor Licencing, council is required to comment on such applications.

The Liquor Licencing Act has separated pubs and nightclub licences.

Under the Act, pubs have to shut by midnight. Most nights and nightclubs can operate to 6:00am.

At council’s June 13 meeting it refused a request from the Aberdeen Hotel to extend its trading hours to 3:00am on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The council was concerned the extended trading hours would set a precedent for other hotels in Northbridge.

Because of the refusal, council staff had recommended refusing extended trading hours requests from the Court Hotel, Rosie O’Grady’s and the Mustang Bar.

However, council agreed to support those hotels’ requests.

Councillor Jennifer MacGill said council needed a policy on extended pub trading hours.

“We have to look at Northbridge and find out what we want for it,” Mrs MacGill said.

“We have to decide where we want late trading hours to happen.

“If we decide we want Northbridge to be a late night area then we can’t have people living there. That will cost us daytime living for nighttime living.

“We need to talk to residents, bar owners, nightclub owners and the police.”

The WA Police Service is opposed to extended trading hours for pubs because it believes it will contribute to anti-social behaviour in Northbridge.

Councillor Bert Tudori said allowing pubs to open later would help curb anti-social behaviour.

“It will dilute the crowds in Northbridge and that will help solve the problems there,” Mr Tudori said.

Mr Tudori said people who chose to live in Northbridge expected the noise.

“Every development approval we’ve given for residential developments has had a rider telling developers to warn residents about what to expect,” he said.

Councillor Laurance Goodman said not allowing pubs to open later was hurting the city’s image.

“We’ve said we want to be a city of international significance,” Mr Goodman said.

“Friday, Saturday and Sunday people want to stay out late and have a drink.

“Some of those people will misbehave.”

Mr Goodman said there was no way of saying people coming from hotels that were allowed to stay open longer would be any more anti-social than those coming from nightclubs.

“Closing down the city is not the answer,” he said.

“It’s not fair that one type of business can stay open longer when another has to close at midnight.”

Councillor Michael Sutherland said allowing pubs longer trading hours would not cause an influx of revellers into Northbridge.

“I think people going to nightclubs now may choose to go to hotels instead,” Mr Sutherland said.

“I don’t think people will flood into Northbridge just to drink from midnight to 3:00am.”

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