Calls for liquor licence scrutiny

NEWCASTLE councillor Tim Crakanthorp believes all development applications involving liquor licences should go before the council, given the community’s concerns about the number of liquor outlets around the city.

Cr Crakanthorp is worried that such applications are flying under the radar by receiving council approval through delegated authority.

Under the council’s current regime, most development applications are decided by delegated authority and do not go before the council unless they are controversial or receive a number of objections.

He cited an application from late last year where approval was granted under delegated authority for a bottle shop in Merewether opposite the proposed Aldi supermarket site in Llewellyn Street.

Lake Macquarie Liquor Accord co-ordinator and former liquor, gaming and racing minister Richard Face said that by the time residents became aware of that application, after seeing a sign at the front of the property, it was too late to voice their opposition.

Cr Crakanthorp said it was too late to revisit the Merewether decision, but he intends to put a notice of motion to the council next month so similar developments can be debated.

‘‘I think all of these applications for liquor outlets should be brought before the council,’’ Cr Crakanthorp said.

‘‘Given the community’s concerns about the sale of alcohol in the area, these applications should be given full consideration and residents should be made aware of them.’’

Mr Face said that an application for a 24-hour bottle shop in the Lake Macquarie area was approved under delegated authority by Lake Macquarie City Council late last year.

Mr Face is concerned that after receiving council approval via delegated authority, applicants may present that approval as an endorsement for their liquor licence applications to the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority.

The Newcastle Herald was unable to obtain comment from Newcastle City Council staff last night.


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