Berry Hotel – Panel presentation 26 June by Stuart Coughlan

In October last year, 122 people attended a public meeting on the DA and it was clear that the plans presented by the applicant needed to be amended to address significant issues.

Since that meeting however, the applicant has failed to deliver on a promise to engage with the community in achieving an acceptable design.

The applicant’s letter sent to the Panel Chair yesterday makes the following statements:

  • “The Applicant will continue to conciliate in good faith and is preparing amended plans that would be regarded by the community as being respectful of the heritage and character of the Town Centre
  • The applicant has already been in contact with Council’s lawyers and experts to discuss the amendments and is of the view that the DA has the potential to result in a number of benefits to the Berry Town Centre and wider area.”

Our response – At this stage, Council has stated that it is yet to identify any resolution of the issues it has raised with the applicant, and any claimed benefits have been generic and capable of being achieved by a far more modest development.

Statement -“Many of the public submissions provided in relation to the Original DA were supportive of its proposed upgrade.”
Our response – Most residents had voiced their support for a redevelopment of the Berry Hotel, provided it would not detract from the character of the town centre.

Statement – The DA will provide additional hotel accommodation which is needed to support the tourism function of Berry.
Our response – Airbnbs and other tourist accommodation owners in Berry are suffering badly from substantial over-supply, and many are now seeking long-term tenants.

Statement – The proposal includes the upgrading of Council’s public parking at 77 Princess Street. We note that the DA does not rely at all on that public parking to meet the parking requirements of the DA.
Our response – This statement contradicts the applicant’s DA which states that “The proposed development provides 17 sealed spaces on Council’s land at 77 Princess St.”


Turning to the Assessment and Council’s recommendation to refuse the DA –

We endorse all 13 reasons for refusal and would add the following points –

  • The development comprises an unjustified substantial intensification of the site., which will result in significant adverse impacts for an established village community like Berry.
  • Any of the potential benefits could be achieved within the current footprint of the site.
  • The Applicant estimates the max number of patrons using the pub will rise five-fold from 100 currently to almost 500, with an additional 100 in the accommodation building.
  • The Sports bar is the largest area in the Hotel, accommodating 120 people, and the Feros operating model is based on attracting patrons via discounted drinks and meals and then encouraging them to gamble in the Sports bar.
  • The community has been asking for months for a Social Impacts Assessment and a management plan to control excessive gambling, but with no response.
  • Yet the Plan of Management is based merely on a generic cut & paste template that includes –
    • nothing specific to address such substantial numbers of patrons leaving the hotel late at night causing a disturbance to nearby residents
    • no daytime plan to address noise levels for the rooftop pool
    • and no reference to waste contractors operating through the night.

In conclusion, the proposal represents a substantial unwarranted overdevelopment of the site and in its current form would be substantially detrimental to the public interest.