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AU Church starts pub brawl in Brisbane

Property Here - Monday, May 06, 2013

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THEY'VE co-existed as neighbours since the mid-1800s but a proposal to add an extra bar level to The Exchange Hotel has sparked an unholy row with Brisbane's Catholic Church.

The Archdiocese is taking Brisbane City Council and the operators of the Edward St establishment to court, seeking a reversal of a conditional approval for the project on the site that adjoins its Catholic Centre and precinct, which includes St Stephen's Cathedral.

The Independent Pub Group's plans to convert part of an existing roof into the extra level, comprising a bar and partially open-air deck, was given the go-ahead in March.

However, in court documents, the Corporation of the Trustees of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane claims the proposal should be refused.

Among other things they argue the extensions will have a "negative impact on a place of cultural heritage significance'' and will "not reasonably buffer adjacent Catholic Centre uses from noise, light and air pollution''.

"It will not reduce community risks particularly those associated with possible property damage and community disruption,'' the document says.

"The proposal does not demonstrate that the activities, hours of operation and design of the proposal will not negatively impact on the activities and cultural practices of the adjoining Catholic Centre and the safety and wellbeing of employees and Centre participants and employees.''

The hotel, which has been operated by IPG for about two years, is licensed from 10am to 5am Thursday to Saturday and 10am to 3am Sunday to Wednesday.

IPG CEO Greg Maitland said he believed the church's appeal was based on little more than "because we don't like it'' and added lawyers had been instructed to fight the ``disappointing'' challenge.

"We run a good business there and we meet all our requirements,'' Mr Maitland said.

"We don't have any breaches of licensing . . . and there isn't anarchy in the street after midnight.

"We're certainly a bit perplexed about the noise issues because, frankly, no one is there.

"We're not even open when they have their main Mass. They don't have a night service on Sundays or on Saturdays. So when the pub is busy . . . there's no one there, no one in the church grounds.''

He said the hotel had 7000 customers a week.

"I'm not sure there would be 7000 people going through that church on a weekly basis,'' he said.

The church and Brisbane City Council declined to comment.

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