Music

“You Can’t Have The Best Of Both Worlds”: Sydney Venues Slam Ridiculous Noise Complaints

The owner of the Kings Cross Hotel says complaints have spiked since new luxury apartments opened nearby.

Kings Cross Hotel

Well, Sydney’s war on nightlife and fun just keeps rolling on. As if the lockout laws weren’t enough, a bunch of iconic Sydney venues are now fighting to keep their rooftops and courtyards open after receiving noise complaints from nearby apartments.

The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that the Kings Cross Hotel, Newtown’s Marlborough Hotel, and the Royal Oak Hotel in Double Bay are all fighting noise complaints from nearby residents unhappy with the venues’ outdoor spaces. As the Tele put it, “talking and having a good time are apparently now illegal in Sydney”.

In the case of the Kings Cross Hotel, the City of Sydney council has ordered the pub to temporarily close its rooftop bar following noise complaints from the nearby Omnia apartment building, a luxury development that only opened a few months ago, in late November 2018. As in yeah, people moved into luxury apartments knowing that a noisy hotel was located right next to them, and then complained.

Understandably, the pub owners and patrons are pretty pissed off about this. After all, the Kings Cross Hotel has been there for over a hundred years. The apartments have been there for just a few months, and only started to pop up after the lockout laws started killing off nightlife in the area.

The Tele reports that Solotel, which owns both the Kings Cross Hotel and the Marlborough, is fighting to keep both venues’ outdoor spaces open following the noise complaints. Solotel commercial director Ben Stephens told Junkee it’s been a tough fight, with noise complaints increasing steeply since the new apartment buildings opened in the Cross.

“Over the past ten years we’ve had, on big occasions or events, maybe two complaints from residents nearby, and nothing in the last couple of years,” he said. “Since the first of December, when the apartments opened, we’ve had four or five.”

Stephens added that while venue managers try to make amendments to reduce noise and keep everyone happy, at this stage “they’re always on edge or thinking they’re doing the wrong thing”. As far as the Kings Cross Hotel goes, Stephens was adamant that the use of the rooftop bar, and the amount of noise coming from it, hasn’t changed over the past few years, and that prospective apartment-dwellers could easily have taken that into account when moving in.

“I can’t speak for the residents, but I think it’d be fairly obvious. When you stand on our rooftop and look across, you’re looking straight into their bedrooms,” he said. He urged developers, as well as the people who ultimately move into these new apartments, to consider the neighbourhood they’re moving into instead of trying to change it to fit their liking.

“People want to be part of the vibrancy of the city, and but that comes with other things you need to consider. You can’t have the best of both worlds — I mean, the flight path is cheap for a reason.”

The Keep Sydney Open party also has a few stern words for wealthy new residents unhappy with noise in the areas they’re gentrifying: “MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE YOU TURKEYS”.

Update: A City of Sydney spokesperson has reached out to clarify that “The City of Sydney has not ordered the Kings Cross Hotel to close its rooftop bar or to cease trading in any location within the building. City staff issued a noise abatement direction last month requiring the hotel to reduce the volume of amplified music in the rooftop bar, as it was considered offensive noise when staff attended the venue at 1.50am.” The spokesperson added that City of Sydney staff are currently investigating the noise complaints made against the hotel.