9 Nov 2015 / Greg Moskovitch
The Espy Not Opening Anytime Soon Due To Neighbours Objections
Punters hoping to spend another memorable summer hanging out at St Kilda’s iconic Esplanade Hotel will have to change their plans. The famous pub will remain shut indefinitely thanks to noise complaints from local residents.
As Tone Deaf wrote, the owners of the beloved St Kilda institution announced back in May that they would be closing the venue to undertake extensive renovations, with plans to reopen sometime in the summer.
However, the Herald Sun now reports that reopening is likely to be months away as owners await a permit for external works, amid a storm of objections from local residents to proposed works, including a rooftop deck.
According to News Corp, the local Port Phillip Council confirmed on 4th November that they had received 26 objections from nearby residents, who are worried about a proposed 145 sq m rooftop terrace.
Among the owners’ plans for the heritage-protected hotel are partial demolition and alterations to the building, fixed street-level canopies, and the addition of a new deck and retractable terrace on the first floor.
Whilst the owners have a planning permit for internal renovations, they are now facing a lengthy wait for an external permit, with News Corp confirming that the matter will not go before council’s statutory planning committee until next month.
Mayor Amanda Stevens said that whether the committee rejects or approves the owners’ application, the decision could be subsequently appealed by either party at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Speaking to the Herald Sun, Pollington St resident Viviane Burnett said her objection was based on her concerns about noise and drunken behaviour, saying any planning permit should include strict controls about the use of a rooftop terrace.
“At the moment we don’t hear anything because it is very well insulated,” Ms Burnett said. “But sound reverberates from higher storeys. They want a 145 sq m terrace for 200 patrons; I think it needs some controls.”
She said she’d like to see a ban on loud music and an 11pm cut-off, however, having lived in her St Kilda home for 28 years, Ms Burnett said she understood music and nightlife are integral parts of the St Kilda scene.
“It’s a consequence of living in a fantastic spot,” she said. “I love St Kilda, I want it to be sustainable. I think [the Espy is] a great establishment and that’s a reason for objecting — to keep it going, not just for the short term.”
The St Kilda Live Music group told News Corp that while it supports the Espy’s rooftop plan, they stress that soundproofing is essential and hoped the proposed plan would not affect the Espy’s capacity to host live music.