Developers warn pub protection push will ‘decimate’ live music

The Property Council has warned that a Greens proposal to save landmark pubs and venues from development such as that threatening the Crown & Anchor hotel would “completely decimate” live music across South Australia.

May 14, 2024, updated May 14, 2024
The Crown & Anchor hotel would be demolished but its facade would remain as a "heritage" item under plans for a 19-storey student apartment tower. Image: Brown Falconer/Plan SA

The Crown & Anchor hotel would be demolished but its facade would remain as a "heritage" item under plans for a 19-storey student apartment tower. Image: Brown Falconer/Plan SA

The Crown & Anchor on Grenfell St is targeted for demolition with just a two-walled facade remaining, under a developer’s plan to build a 19-storey student housing tower on the historic East End site and longstanding live music venue.

Greens MLC Robert Simms today said he was planning a draft bill for introduction to parliament, giving councils and community groups the right to nominate land or buildings of community value for inclusion on a state government register, and the option to buy if offered for sale.

Under the “Community Right to Buy” plan, the Planning Minister would oversee a register of nominated sites and consider their social and cultural value for inclusion.

If listed as an “Asset of Community Value”, a site would remain on the register for five years and the owner would have to gain ministerial approval to sell or change its land use.

If put up for sale, the community would have two months to express interest in the ACV as a potential buyer. Expressions of interest would trigger a 12-month moratorium on any sale to give time to raise the funds, while the site’s worth would be assessed by the Valuer-General and the owner must accept that amount.

If no community group or council could raise the money to buy, the owner could then freely sell the ACV, or could bypass the process by selling the business as a going concern with no change in use.

Simms said the plan was based on a model already operating in the UK with bipartisan support, and would “protect SA’s iconic pubs and buildings from destruction”.

“A planning system that serves the interests of developers rather than the community has put our iconic pubs and live music venues at risk,” Simms said, adding that “unfettered development is ripping the heart and soul out of our city”.

But Property Council SA executive director Bruce Djite branded the plan “complete overreach” and warned that such legislation would actually destroy the live music venues it sought to protect.

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“The Crown & Anchor is a perfect example,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“There is this real want to save the Crown & Anchor, from a specific sector of the community, but 80 per cent of live music is played in pubs.

“You can save the Crown & Anchor, but what it will do is completely decimate live music throughout the whole state. Why? Because any owner of a pub will straightaway start writing into leases that live music is not to be played in their venues.

“Because that would limit the value of the asset – because it would become a barrier in the future. So great, save the Crown & Anchor – at the same time, decimate live music throughout the whole state.”

InDaily contacted the office of Planning Minister Nick Champion for comment.

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

The Crown & Anchor development application is due to be heard by the State Planning Assessment Commission in September.

The “Save the Cranker” campaign says more than 800 public submissions against the plan had been received by SCAP by last Friday’s deadline.

The hotel was also granted provisional state heritage listing last month by the SA Heritage Council, which will now assess the site’s heritage aspect for consideration for full state heritage protection.

The Heritage Council has invited public submissions for state heritage listing and says submissions are open until 5pm on August 3.

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