A Dry Argument

Vibrancy impacted by liquor legislation changes

Part of City of Prospect’s Strategic Plan to 2020 has a focus on increased business and social activity in Prospect’s main precinct along Prospect Road, with an aim to increase the numbers of locals and visitors patronising shops, restaurants, cafes and the new cinemas.

While there has been a marked increase in foot traffic, which has doubled since the cinemas opened late last year, there have been more requests for boutique small bars which emulate the style of those which have opened in Adelaide over recent times.

The State Government introduced reforms on 18 December 2017 to streamline liquor licensing processes, which has effectively reduced consultation with Councils and residents.

The most significant change is the notification requirement. The change in legislation from Consumer and Business Services states that people who submit a liquor licence application will no longer be automatically required to notify Council and neighbours of their application, and that the public can be informed of applications by placing notices on premises. Councils and local residents are still able to make complaints to the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner in issues stemming from the licence.

Applicants can choose to provide Council with copy of their application, but this has become discretionary and Council cannot compel this or influence the process. City of Prospect development conditions still apply, however, and applicants must confirm they have all relevant Council consents before their liquor licence is approved.

 

Trading hour changes

There have also been changes to hours in which liquor can be sold. Licensed businesses will now be allowed to sell liquor on Christmas Day and the day after (Boxing Day), Good Friday and the following day and New Year’s Eve, according to the trading hours which apply to that day of the week. They will also be able to trade until 2am on New Year’s Day without applying for extended hours. If such hours are beyond the hours prescribed in a planning consent, however, City of Prospect can enforce the conditions of the planning consent.

 

Small Bars

Despite City of Prospect’s efforts during consultation on licensing reform, the legislation made no changes to liberalise small bar licenses beyond Adelaide’s CBD. A number of other councils have expressed disappointment about the decision. There are opportunities for other liquor licences such as Special Circumstances Licence, which has assisted Prospect businesses like Wassail Wine Bar or the new Rosemont Hall to cater for a growing thirst (pun intended) for drinking and entertainment venue options. There is still a strong call to make further amendments to the state’s liquor laws which could see small bars established in Prospect in future.

 

A decades-long dry argument

So why has Prospect never had a hotel? Apart from those fringe-dwelling pubs which sit on the city’s boundary roads (Bombay Bicycle Club, Northern Tavern and the Windmill and Reepham Hotels) there has never been a watering hole in the village. According to Mayor David O’Loughlin, the story goes back many years.

In a conversation he recalls with resident Joe Horne, son of the famous A.S. Horne, owner of Prospect’s glove factory, his father wanted to build a hotel on Prospect Road at the corner of Labrina Avenue, opposite his business.

As Joe related to the Mayor, a vocal contingent of strongly Methodist residents actively campaigned against the idea, holding a plebiscite and voting him down, while influencing Council to agree to a condition that he could not apply again for another 20 years! Mr Horne Snr waited for two decades, reapplied, and lost the vote a second time.

He must have been a persistent and patient character, because he cooled his heels for yet another twenty years before putting the idea of a local pub forward again, only to see his proposal shot down a final time. It was sufficient discouragement for him to give up on the idea forever.

If you have thoughts about whether you think small bars or a boutique hotel would work in Prospect, discuss it with your elected members. You might be happy we’re able to point to our difference and this may continue to be one of the few council areas which have no pub. Tell us what you think. Were our religious forebears right and we’ve preserved the peace and character of our city without a hotel – or did the wowsers win?