Theatre Application Knocked Back

Knox City Council has knocked back a permit application for a function and theatre venue in Ferntree Gully during a meeting yesterday.

The council received an application from Strategic Partners Connected to change the use of a vacant building at 6/1845 Ferntree Gully Road in January.

Residents reported a wrestling match and alcohol-use at the venue in February.

Councillor Adam Gill said he was “greatly concerned” an event had been held without a permit.

He said wrestling matches were not the sort of events he wanted in Knox.

Councillor John Mortimore said he did not think Ferntree Gully was an appropriate neighbourhood for having “full body contact sports” as a part of recreation.

The council advised the applicant to stop using the venue until a permit was given.

But Councillor Tony Holland said another match was planned and advertised on the internet.

He described the application as “outrageous”.

The application said the venue would hold children’s plays like the Very Hungry Caterpillar and dance performances.

It was proposed the venue would be used in a table seated mode, a dance floor mode and a theatre mode in the application.

Councillor Seymour said the application raised “red flags” for her and she needed “a lot more detail”.

She said the application did not “stack up” because she did not take her kids to performances on a Friday or Saturday night as proposed.

Cr Seymour said she could not support the application as a representative of the people of Knox as it did not “gel” with her “integrity”.

But Director for City Development Angelo Kourambas said the department believed the application met all criteria and recommended council grant the permit.

The City Development report stated an appropriate number of car parking spaces would be available for the proposed maximum of 300 visitors.

The report said providing a venue for community events would be a benefit to the community and contribute to economic growth.

Councillor Peter Lockwood said he thought it was the right location for the venue.

He said there was “no issue” for the quietness of surrounding workplaces as the opening hours were complementary to other businesses except the 24-hour gym.

“Don’t forget wrestling is entertainment,” Cr Lockwood said. “It’s not a body contact sport.”

Knox City Council had received 10 objections to the proposal.

Cr Holland said he had received letters from owners of surrounding businesses who were unhappy about the application.

He said objectors were concerned the sight would be used as a nightclub or licensed premises and wrestling matches would continue to be held.

He said owners also objected because of limited car parking and the impact noise will have on surrounding businesses.

A liquor license was not part of the application.

Surrounding businesses include a gym, tiling, flooring, and furniture store.

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