By Ian Neubauer
NSW Police believe a fire that led to the destruction of a heritage-listed hotel in Sydney’s inner city this weekend was deliberately lit and have called in the State Crime Command’s Arson Squad to investigate.
The White Bay Hotel on Victoria Road, Rozelle, which was built in 1916 but had not traded since 1992, was gutted by fire on Friday (September 5) night.
Firefighters took several hours to control the blaze and ordered its demolition after declaring the site unsafe the next day.
Publican James Manning has been interviewed by police but is not presently considered a suspect.
Manning had lodged a development application with the Sydney Foreshore Authority (SFA) in 2006 to build a new restaurant and bar in the hotel and erect a four-story office building behind it, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
But the application had been rejected on July 8, 2008, after the SFA decided the proposed development did not provide the best outcome for the site and surrounding community.
Police are appealing to members of the public that may have information on how the fire started to contact Strike Force Royale on 02 9552 8099.
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