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Councillor steps in to save Bendigo Hotel

City of Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly called an emergency meeting to help save the Bendigo Hotel following complaints of excessive noise.

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Collingwood's Bendigo Hotel has had a reprieve from imminent closure after a last ditch deal on noise levels at the punk and metal live music venue.

An interim hearing on Tuesday at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal was abandoned after a meeting between publican and licensee Guy Palermo and Yarra City Council on Monday night.

A dispute had arisen between the council and the Bendigo Hotel over noise levels. One resident was named as well on the interim hearing papers but the council claims other residents had complained as well. The council had sought an order to suspend live music at the venue to deal with acoustic and noise levels.

A photograph, posted on Twitter by Marieke Hardy, showing a notice taped to a 'for sale' sign on a house near the Retreat Hotel in Brunswick.

A photograph, posted on Twitter by Marieke Hardy, of a notice taped to a 'for sale' sign on a house near the Retreat Hotel in Brunswick.

But Mr Palermo told Fairfax Media on Monday that without live music his pub would be forced to close as it was its only drawcard.

A Yarra City Council statement said the parties wanted more time to seek a solution and more testing would be carried out.

"Discussions highlighted incidences where bands have brought in their own amplification for gigs which have circumvented the hotel's house system," the statement said.

Bendigo Hotel licensee Guy Palermo says the pub depends on live music to survive.

Bendigo Hotel licensee Guy Palermo says the pub depends on live music to survive. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer

"The house system is equipped with a sound limiter designed to keep volumes within permitted levels."

Mr Palermo was pleased the VCAT interim hearing had been abandoned but said he wanted the council to waive a $1888 fine for breaching noise levels and was concerned by some of the limits placed on the venue. He commended Councillor Stephen Jolly for "talking some sense into the council".

Mr Palermo called for state laws to protect pre-existing occupants ahead of those that move into the area subsequently.

Music Victoria this year made a submission to change the Victorian Planning Scheme to introduce the concept of "agent of change".

Under this change, the most person or organisation that has changed the pre-existing conditions of a neighbourhood needs to take responsibility for fixing the amenity. This would mean residents moving into a neighbourhood where there was a live music venue would need to pay for their own double glazing and noise abatment. It would also mean if a venue started playing live music or louder music they would need to pay to reduce the noise. It could also mean that developers building beside a live music venue would be responsible for noise reduction measures.

Music Victoria chief executive officer Patrick Donovan said the rules would only apply if a venue was complying with maximum noise level standards.

"What we are trying emphasis is that 'agent of change' needs to be to the benefit of residents, to benefit of venues and to give clarity to developers," Mr Donovan said.

"If a developer is building an apartment block next to a live music venue then they will know they have to build it with double glazing rather than getting to VCAT and finding they need to pull all the windows out and replace them," he said.

Mr Palermo said the planning laws cannot come soon enough.

"It is time to change the laws and policies to protect live music. There has been enough talking about change already – this is people's livelihoods," Mr Palermo said.

"Live music is culture and art. If you move into Collingwood because to love the culture and art we welcome you into our pubs, but don't move in and complain that you want to be part of that culture but don't like what goes with that culture," he said.

Some live music fans are taking matters into their own hands. A paper notice has been pasted on an estate agent's board warning buyers of a Brunswick home behind the Retreat Hotel that the venue has live music most nights and it is loud.