Residents of Kings Cross, Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay and Woolloomooloo
Victory for Kings Cross residents: Sugar Mill Hotel rooftop and Springfield’s (Elk) – Feb 23
Proposals for a rooftop bar for the Sugarmill Hotel and 5am closing for the former Springfield’s (now renamed Elk) were rejected by Sydney City Council on Monday night, February 23.
These unaccustomed victories were the result of strong opposition from residents in Springfield Avenue, Macleay Street, Roslyn Street, the Wintergarden in Darlinghurst Road and elsewhere in the district.
The Sugarmill development application was for a rooftop terrace bar operating between 10am and 12 midnight seven days a week. Another section of the roof was to be used as a smoking area from midnight until 5am
Springfield’s was applying, among other amendments, to extend its hours from 3am until 5am.
The council planning department had proposed that both DAs be approved despite the exceptional number of objections from residents – 43 objections to Sugarmill and 36, plus a petition with 31 signatories, to Springfield’s.
Fourteen residents spoke against the Sugarmill development at the meeting of the Development Assessment Sub-Committee meeting the previous Monday, February 16, and a vote was postponed until the full council meeting.
Councillors were apparently surprised not only by the numbers who turned up but also by the descriptions of the noise, anti-social behaviour and general squalor that residents are expected to endure.
It was the residents’ turn to be surprised when Councillor John McInerney, in summing up, said it was clear that Kings Cross needed a ‘rescue plan’.
Councillor Meredith Burgmann made time on Friday night to visit apartments in Springfield Avenue and Darlinghurst Road to judge the noise levels, and on Wednesday night some councillors and staff made a site inspection of Springfield’s, although the hour and the day gave little idea of the full-on ‘Darlinghurst Road experience’ of Friday and Saturday nights.
There was also discussion at the February 16 meeting on the vexed issue of complaints procedures, rangers and compliance and it was conceded that this process needs review.
Residents also await the release next month of a long-overdue survey on cumulative impact and saturation of licensed premises.
The battle to reclaim residents’ rights in Kings Cross has only just been joined. The Sugarmill rejection is expected to go to appeal to the Land and Environment Court and moves to have opening hours wound back from 5am will require much time and effort.