Two significant applications have not had favourable outcomes for ALH Group recently, with the pub group’s plans to build a Dan Murphy’s store behind the Como Hotel in Perth up in the air, and its application to install 40 EGMs in the Commercial Hotel, South Morang, in Victoria denied by VCAT.

A lapsed DA after a long battle over Como Hotel’s Dan Murphy’s plans has seen ALH’s objectives for the site left in limbo.

After receiving approval to demolish the current BWS on the site of the Como Hotel and construct a larger Dan Murphy’s store in its place in April 2015, the City of South Perth challenged the approval in the Supreme Court of Western Australia, largely over changes to ways the site would be accessed and the traffic I could cause on Canning Highway. In May 2016, ALH’s DA approval was upheld.

However in April last year the DA approval lapsed, as the Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) postponed final approval as they assess new town planning assessments and advice from Main Roads, Western Australia’s government agency charged with implementing policies for the state’s major arterials.

JDAP is scheduled to rule on the issue on 12 February. ALH has lodged a DA for an extension until 2019.

Pokie no-go for Commercial Hotel

In another setback for ALH, in late December the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) upheld VCGLR’s decision to reject an application for 40 EGMs to be installed in the Commercial Hotel in South Morang. ALH had appealed VCGLR’s decision in mid 2017.

In its application, ALH had proposed transferring 20 EGMs and their licences it already had in other pubs in the Whittlesea LGA, thus adding an additional 20 gaming machines to the area.

The ruling on the matter stated that the application would not be affirmed “on the basis that the net economic and social impacts of the proposal will not be neutral, but will be detrimental to the well-being of the community of the municipal district of Whittlesea.”

A statement by ALH COO Peter Hardy lodged to VCAT last year detailed the purchase of the Commercial Hotel in 2010, and stated that it was “predicated on the introduction of EGMs into the hotel” and that “it is unlikely that the Board would have approved the acquisition of the hotel if EGMs were not anticipated as part of its future development.”

Australian Hotelier has contacted ALH Group for comment, but has had no response at the time of publication.

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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