Bar proposal causes a stir

By David Schout

An application to extend a rooftop bar’s trading hours from 1am to 3am has been met with stern resistance from already-irritated residents.

The owners of Loop Bar on Meyers Place have applied for the extension on both weekends and weeknights for its rooftop terrace.

But the application has already received 11 objections from nearby residents who are concerned primarily with noise.

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said his property sat just 30m directly opposite the rooftop bar.

“You can hear shouting constantly and people screaming in the street,” he said.

Loop’s downstairs bar began operating in 2003, while the rooftop was opened in 2013.

The resident said the rooftop emerged once he was already living there.

“Imagine you’re in the city and all of a sudden a rooftop bar pops up right in front of you?” he said.

“If this is approved it could set a precedent in the CBD, which is insanity.”

Another resident, Zac Aria, wrote on the Planning Alerts public forum that Loop’s current trading hours were already unsettling.

“Only an inconsiderate fool would accept or accommodate such a ludicrous request from the Loop,” he said.

“Already having caused much concern, disruption to local amenities and imposition to local residents, a further extension would be irresponsible management.”

But Loop director Adam Bunny said the rooftop bar had been “meticulously planned” to provide acoustic protection.

This included engaging acoustic engineers to negate and insulate noise.

“From the outset of opening Loop Roof five years ago, Loop has taken very seriously the need to contain sound and respect the needs of nearby neighbours in relation to amenity,” Mr Bunny said on behalf of owners and management.

He said that, since its opening, it was yet to receive a formal noise complaint.

“We do have great respect for community and the people around us, it is actually one of the key reasons we exist.”

Mr Bunny said Loop’s status as a creative space for Melbourne’s artists, filmmakers, writers and activists made the application a unique one and that a trading hours extension would better fund those initiatives.

“The more altruistic focus of the ground floor operations means that we do increasing lean on the more financially-lucrative rooftop space to financially support its older, ground-floor sister.”

The City of Melbourne is currently considering the application.

Current planning scheme policy states that outdoor areas including rooftops “should not be occupied past 1am and in noise sensitive areas alcohol should not be consumed in those areas after 11pm.”

While a spokeperson said there had been “limited” precedent set from similar applications, rooftop terrace Siglo Bar on Spring St and Aer Bar (above European Bier Café on Exhibition St) both were permitted to trade until 3am.

However, a nearby resident to Loop said these examples were “invalid” because those bars did not operate close to residents.

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