Since the introduction of the Bar Licence on 1st January 2010, only eleven of these licences have been issued in Queensland. Of these, only one is in Fortitude Valley; hardly the small bar revolution envisioned when this new licence category was announced.
The limited number of new bars has not been because of a lack of interest from the public, we have received several enquiries from people interested in opening a bar in Fortitude Valley and other areas, it is due to the classification of a bar as a “Hotel” under town planning schemes.
Until recently if you wanted to open a bar (or hotel) in Fortitude Valley, you were required to make a code or impact assessable town planning application – both long and costly exercises. This made it financially unviable to open a bar with a maximum capacity of 60 persons.
On 1st October 2010 the revised Fortitude Valley Neighbourhood Plan came into effect. Under the new plan the use of premises as a hotel is now self assessable where:
- the use does not involve building work (internal fitout does not constitute building work)
- the buildins is in the Special Entertainment Precinct Core Area
- the premises has 100m? or less in gross floor area (Other uses may occupy an area greater than 100m2, provided the licensed component is 100m? or less. This would apply to fusion bars attached to existing businesses such as shops, hairdressers etc.)
- the premises is not located within the same building as, or within 5m from, a residential dwelling.
This makes the prospect of opening a bar in Fortitude Valley much more attractive and we may now see some more vibrancy in our laneways and small spaces.