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Pub operation must protect and encourage heritage access

The major space for heritage interpretation at the Eveleigh Locomotive Workshop is in Bays 1 and 2 of the Workshops. The southern part is occupied by an operating blacksmiths workshop and the northern section was to be a hybrid heritage/small retail space with full public access.

These plans were turned on their head when an application was made to the City of Sydney Council (CoS) in mid-2021 for a single venue: a cavernous pub providing for 720 patrons for Bays 1 and 2 North. Alarmingly, the application had the effect of limiting public access to the extensive heritage display. The change in plans was a commercial decision by developer Mirvac to maximise profits.

The application potentially further eroded the community’s access to one of the most important heritage buildings in NSW.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Unions Retired Members Association and local community organisation REDWatch made substantial submissions opposing a number of elements of the application.

The Local Planning Panel of the CoS conducted a public hearing in early February and both the Association and REDWatch made oral and further written submissions calling for significant changes to the proposed Conditions for Development Consent.

The Local Planning Panel in its determination imposed a number of conditions suggested by the Association and REDWatch. This included the need for a new Plan of Management that must allow:

  • Access by the public with no physical barriers to be utilised to restrict public access to the interpretative elements during the pub’s operating hours. Access for tour and school groups etc. is to be facilitated.
  • Signage to be displayed that encourages the public to enter the pub. Pub staff to welcome the public who want to view heritage interpretative elements.
  • A heritage interpretation education module for all pub staff that includes a general understanding of the heritage interpretation of the Locomotive Workshops and the heritage items in Bays 1 and 2 North.
  • The adoption of security measures to protect heritage items from vandalism and theft in line with the original DA.
  • The adoption of a green travel plan to encourage the use of public transport by patrons and staff and a passenger pick-up and drop-off plan of management.

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