New heritage protections coming for Inner West pubs

Wednesday 4 July, 2018

Inner West Council will initiate new heritage protections for long-standing pubs to protect hotels from residential development and conversion to other business uses.

This follows the recent conversion of the historic Town Hall Hotel in Balmain, built in 1879, into a massage parlour and fitness gym and a spate of other local pubs being targeted for other business uses.

“The Inner West has recently seen an alarming trend of conversion of heritage pubs into completely new usage,” Mayor Byrne said.

“We've got to draw a line in the sand and send a clear message to developers that if you buy a pub in our area you’ll need to operate it as a pub and not use it for property speculation.

“We can’t let our famous pub culture go out the back door and risk losing the heart and soul of our community.

“People are attracted to the Inner West because it is a fun, vibrant and interesting place. That reputation won’t survive if all of our heritage pubs become soulless office spaces or bland unit blocks.

“Our hotels and pubs are cultural institutions and have a value above and beyond the commercial – they have architectural, historical and social significance.

“Many hotels in the area have heritage protection, but it is clear that some have slipped through the cracks – possibly merely due an historical assumption that no-one would convert the premises

“Before we lose any more of our bars, we must investigate which pubs might require heritage protections, by virtue of their age, community significance and architectural features,” he said.

Mayor Byrne said a number of iconic pubs had been converted into other uses including the Exchange Hotel in Balmain, the top floor of which is now a call centre.

Council will now be conducting an inventory of the existing protections in place for heritage pubs and partnering with an architectural school to develop criteria to extend protections to long-standing hotels across the Inner West.

For further information, please contact John Roper on 0435 963 787.

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