Locals Oppose $7M Pub

By Tony Bosworth, Editor Hawkesbury Post
Kurrajong Heights locals vow to fight modern $7M pub set for build-in the heritage precinct

A packed meeting last Sunday at Kurrajong Heights Bowling Club as around 50 locals heard how a proposed $7m modern pub, open 7 days a week, with pokies, VIP access for gamblers, and a potential clientele of 300-plus customers per night could totally destroy the heritage and ambience of the tight-knit community.

The project sees a four-storey building – if you count the underground car park – with the pub dwarfing and shadowing surrounding buildings, many of which date from the 1800s.

There would also be 9 cabins for people who wished to stay overnight or for longer periods.

If given the eventual go-ahead by a planning panel – Hawkesbury Council cannot make a decision because any projects over $5m in cost have to go to a panel – the pub will sit on vacant land at 27 Douglas Rd in amongst a variety of heritage buildings, including Lochiel House which it will overshadow.

The DA before Hawkesbury Council reveals what is essentially a very modern-looking fourstorey building, says local Jeremy Braithwaite, who along with well-known resident Andrew Waterhouse have been at the forefront of organising initial community resistance, starting with the Sunday evening meeting.

They, along with several others in the community – including leading local heritage architect Graham Edds – have been through the DA with a fine tooth-comb and it was clear at last night’s meeting that they didn’t much like what they found.

Mr Braithwaite told residents some 20 car park spaces are reserved for VIPs, leading straight into a planned gaming room area.

“This is anonymous access and a quiet area away from the public area. I can’t understand how anyone can bring that into Kurrajong Heights,” Mr Braithwaite said.

There is additionally potential in the pub plans for 18 poker machines, with as many as 22 possible.

“Our people do not gamble,” said Mr Braithwaite, pointing to the fact the only two other premises in the Heights with pokies are the Archibald Hotel and the Bowlo itself, with a grand total of 13 machines between them, and both are near the bottom of the list of NSW profitable gaming machine venues.

In a report about parking attached to the DA, it says 300 people could attend the new pub at any one time at its peak, and with only 75 car parking spaces, said Mr Braithwaite,” at 300 persons, we will be seeing 160 cars parked in our streets”.

He added that his analysis more likely sees a potential for 500 people to be regularly coming into the premises, which could see up to 300 parked cars in Heights’ streets.

“We have no footpaths or street lights,” he said, pointing to safety issues for that many people. As many as 149 people are projected to gather in the outside areas of the pub too, which would lead to a lot of noise, he said, in a precinct where the majority of buildings were built in the 1800s”.

“We have really got to think about how we protect the heritage of our area. I think this is worth preserving.

“A concrete monolith surrounded by a picket fence does not fit,” Mr Braithwaite said.

Locals will now set up a small working group to help put forward more submissions before the June 9 deadline – there are currently 19 submissions, all of which are against the pub project.

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