‘Unfair’ reason beloved pub could close

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A beloved Sydney pub’s very survival is hanging in the balance following a brutal council crackdown as a result of “isolated complaints” from nightmare neighbours.

The Eveleigh Hotel – located in inner city Redfern – has been a gambling-free and family-friendly community hub for the last decade.

However, it has recently been hit by draconian new restrictions from the City of Sydney council, which shift manager Danny Leyland claims “directly threaten our ability to operate in the future”.

Over the past year, the venue has already reduced its outdoor seating capacity from nine people with a 10pm curfew, to just eight people and an 8pm curfew.

Meanwhile, the only live music the pub has presented was live “gentle jazz” sessions, which were held on Saturday afternoons and which ran until 7pm.

But following endless complaints from residents, the council has ordered the pub to cut back even further, with future live music banned completely and outdoor seating reduced yet again to a maximum of six people on just two tables until 8pm.

The Eveleigh Hotel has been a Redfern institution for around a decade. Picture: Google MapsThe Eveleigh Hotel has been a Redfern institution for around a decade. Picture: Google Maps

In addition, side windows and doors must be closed to prevent noise leakage, and costly renovations must again take place to reduce noise.

The pub is also on its “final warning” after customers were alleged to have caused disruption outside, including drinking in the street, shouting and smoking in anti-social areas.

In a change.org petition to save the pub, which has already attracted almost 2000 signatures, Mr Leyland wrote that the venue had been the “victim of incessant noise complaints from a neighbour, complaints that we – and our community of patrons – consider to be both unfounded and unfair”.

He said staff “utterly reject” the new proposals, and that “actions taken by the council have caused great damage to the essential character of The Eveleigh Hotel”.

“It is difficult to explain in this petition the degree of stress and anxiety experienced by the staff who, as one member of the front of house team put it, ‘feel constantly on edge’ as a result of the ever-anticipated complainant,” he wrote.

“To our great distress, staff have described experiencing an ‘anxious atmosphere’ at The Eveleigh in which any slight infringement of the rules, however momentary or inconsequential, may be witnessed and photographed by a complainant, or by the council themselves.

But it has been banned from holding live music events – despite their jazz sessions ending at 7pm. Picture: InstagramBut it has been banned from holding live music events – despite their jazz sessions ending at 7pm. Picture: Instagram

“Such an atmosphere has, in one case, led to an actual stress-related physical illness for which an ambulance had to be called during a shift.”

He explained that the new restrictions were just the latest in a long series of demands and that “unfortunately, these restrictions are immediately detrimental to the viability of our family-run business in the future”.

“The danger is that ongoing restrictions could very well result in the closure of the pub as you know it. What would the future hold? A soulless hotel with pokies and sports on the TV? Or perhaps private apartments?” he said.

“Certainly, our staff would lose their jobs, and it would set yet one more precedent in Sydney for the property owner’s right to exert their power over the local venues and hospitality businesses which bring so much character to the area in which they live.”

The pub is calling on the council to reconsider the restrictions, and is urging the community to rally behind the venue and sign the change.org petition, which can be found here.

The pub has also been raising awareness of its plight on social media, posting on Facebook that “we understand we are not the only hotel in Sydney which continues tostruggle with disproportionate and unfair restrictions imposed by local council as a result of isolated complaints from neighbours,despite the fact that both the council and the NSW government continue to claim that they are supporting the hospitality industry”.

The Eveleigh Hotel is under threat from 'unfair' noise complaints. Picture: InstagramThe Eveleigh Hotel is under threat from ‘unfair’ noise complaints. Picture: Instagram

“We do not have pokies. We do not have televised sport. We have lovely customers. And we always close-up shop at a reasonable hour,” the recent post continues.

Meanwhile, the community has rallied around The Eveleigh, demanding the council reconsider.

“It is concerning … that while the majority of the neighbourhood support The Eveleigh and consider it a cornerstone of the community, that the council has chosen to react so strongly to a minority view,” one supporter posted on social media.

“It seems out of character for a council that is strongly promoting cafe and outdoor dining culture in our area. Perhaps our council leaders should take a moment to check what’s driving this vested interest?

“You know what really bugs me about this? The Eveleigh is a lovely, welcoming (and very quiet as pubs go) pub that is part of the life of this area,” another wrote.

“Much quieter than the f$%#ing council leaf blower that comes around at 6.30am on Monday morning right outside our window! What’s going on City of Sydney Council?”

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“Beautiful music in a great pub, who are these people that live near a pub and expect silence???” another added, while another angry local wrote that there was “always a few ruining it for everyone. Such a shame”.

News.com.au contacted City of Sydney council for comment.

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