Live music and entertainment in restaurants, pubs, cafes and
clubs is now set to flourish. New laws commenced this week which
aim to encourage live music. The past restrictions and red tape
imposed by the POPE licence system is now abolished and, like it or
not, the sound of music is coming to you soon...
The key live entertainment reforms are:
venues such as pubs and restaurants no longer have to obtain a
special licence to provide live entertainment (a POPE licence)
all existing POPE licences expired as of 26 October 2009
the conditions and restrictions in all POPE licences no longer
live entertainment (within reason) is now considered a normal
part of a restaurant, pub, cafe or club use and is subject to the
conditions of a venue's current development consent (or
existing use rights in some cases) and its liquor licence.
These changes apply if live entertainment falls within a
venue's main approved business activity or its ancillary use.
If live entertainment fundamentally changes the principle use of a
venue or is not ancillary to its use (for example some small cafes
could not reasonably claim that live amplified music is part of
their usual operations!), approval may be required and a
modification application may have to be made to the Council and/or
the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing.
The Department is promoting the view that live entertainment is
a normal activity for venues such as restaurants and bars. The
rationale is that providing recorded music and TV screen
entertainment does not require separate approval - so why should
live entertainment? The control of live entertainment will now fall
back on the more general (and at times more generous) development
For operators who have a POPE licence for their venue, those
POPE conditions simply no longer apply. Check your current
development consent, approved use and liquor licence for conditions
which might be relevant to controlling live entertainment and
music, such as noise or patron numbers. However in our experience,
many older hotels and clubs will have very few conditions
regulating operations, therefore the removal of POPE conditions
will in many cases allow a relaxation on the operation of those
premises. This means new DAs are likely to only be
approved subject to stringent conditions of development consent. Be
aware when lodging new DAs!
Councils will now also be able to impose conditions on
new consents (for example limiting patron numbers
or noise) which can be reviewed by the Council at a later date,
after the venue has been operating for a certain
period. This means that the impact of the venue on the local area
can be monitored, and the controls adjusted to suit.
The changes have been achieved by amendments to the State
Environmental Planning Policy (Temporary Structures and Places of
Public Entertainment) 2007, the Standard
Instrument—Principal Local Environmental Plan and
the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000,
and the commencement of the 2008 reviewable conditions amendment to
the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
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