‘Save the Crown & Anchor’ fight to hit parliament

The state government will be asked to protect the Crown & Anchor hotel from demolition or “adaptive reuse”, as a petition to save the historic live music venue from a proposed student housing tower passes 16,000 signatures.

Apr 09, 2024, updated Apr 17, 2024
A petition poster in the Crown & Anchor front bar. Photo: David Eccles/InDaily.

A petition poster in the Crown & Anchor front bar. Photo: David Eccles/InDaily.

Greens’ Heritage and Planning MLC Robert Simms will on Wednesday introduce a motion to parliament calling on the Malinauskas Government to protect the East End venue established in 1853.

Simms’ motion also calls for heritage laws to be strengthened “to reflect the cultural and social value of the pub”, commonly known as The Cranker.

Singapore-based Wee-Jur Holdings lodged a development application in March to build “multi-level student housing” at the hotel’s Grenfell St site, sparking a community outcry and debate about planning laws not taking cultural value into account.

Photo: Bension Siebert/InDaily

One of Adelaide’s oldest pubs, the local heritage-listed Crown & Anchor has been a live music stalwart for decades.

The popular venue and adjoining land between Frome and Union streets and fronting Grenfell St is owned by Adelaide developer Gerry Karidis’ Karidis Corporation, which bought the site in 2016 after zoning was changed to allow buildings of up to 15 storeys.

Simms’ motion says that “Singapore-based developer Wee Hur Holdings Ltd has made an application for partial demolition and adaptive reuse of the site of the Crown & Anchor Hotel, which was first licensed in 1853 and has been a cornerstone of Adelaide’s live music scene for over 3 decades”.

Photo: David Simmons/InDaily.

The motion acknowledges a petition opposing any move to demolish or change the hotel’s use, and “recognises that Adelaide is a designated UNESCO City of Music for the vibrancy of the city’s music culture, including its live music venues”.

The motion then calls on the Malinauskas Government to:

“Oppose any partial demolition or adaptive reuse of the Crown & Anchor Hotel; make a submission to the State Commission Assessment Panel indicating that position; and move to amend state heritage laws to ensure that cultural and social value is considered in the development assessment of heritage sites like the Crown & Anchor Hotel.”

Planning Minister Nick Champion said last month that planning laws and heritage protection did not guarantee sites would continue as they were.

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“The built form is protected… you can’t really protect the culture that surrounds a particular building,” he said.

Simms said that the Crown & Anchor had been “part of SA’s story for generations”.

“It’s clear that our state heritage laws don’t go far enough in terms of recognising the cultural and social value of heritage sites like the Cranker,” he said.

“This isn’t just about bricks and mortar, it’s about the beating heart of our city. This motion calls for the Government to amend our laws to plug that gap.

“The Government also needs to oppose this development and make that position clear to the State Commission Assessment Panel. It’s simply not acceptable for Premier Peter Malinauskas and Minister Nick Champion to wash their hands of this.”

It comes as a “Save the Crown & Anchor Hotel” petition passed 16,000 signatures on Tuesday.

An image from a “Save the Crown & Anchor” petition.

“The Crown & Anchor Hotel – the Cranker – is more than just a building. It’s a symbol of our community, our history, and our love for live music,” the petition reads.

“It is a church to many. A safe haven, a discussion, a party, a listening ear, a teacher, a delightful ale. The hotel serves as a meeting place, a melting pot of society where people from all walks of life come together. Live music is our language.

“The potential demolition or change in use in the building would see a curtain fall on the proud pub rock culture our South Australian government (under arts guardian Premier Peter Malinauskas) seeks to recognise, protect and propel as part of Adelaide’s ongoing role as a UNESCO City of Music.

“We seek a solution that demonstrates our State’s commitment to the UNESCO listing.”

The state government was contacted for comment.

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