‘Not in my back yard’ is the phrase commonly heard when planning approval is sought for something a little controversial in our cities. It’s a phrase that brewer Richard Adamson was confronted with on the front page of today’s Sydney Morning Herald in relation to his attempts to get Young Henry’s, his proposed restaurant and microbrewery, up and running in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills.
As Richard is in discussion with the local Council, he cannot discuss the specifics of the complaints but the Sydney Morning Herald quotes him as saying it would, “enrich the neighbourhood” and would “be unlike a pub or a hotel” as there would be no pokies or TVs. “We are extremely mindful of the needs and interests of the neighbourhood”, he said. The council said it is assessing all information and no decision has been made.
The Herald says the proposed development is slated for “a now-empty warehouse that has been a furniture shop, offices and a gym.” and that the surrounding suburb of Surry Hills has “more than 138 licensed restaurants, pubs and bars”. Richard is proposing an upmarket restaurant with six beers on tap and two on hand-pump for consumption on site that sounds more like an English pub than a raucous night spot.
While any new development is potentially scary for residents and these concerns shouldn’t be minimised, the atmosphere and tenor of a brew-pub style restaurant is worlds away from a pokies and plasma-style hotel. While I wouldn’t want the former in my suburb, I’d happily have the latter in my street.
Given the situation in Brisbane, I can say to Richard – if you’re not welcome in their backyard, you’re welcome in mine.
Obviously there are opposing views on the subject. Though here is an opposing and, seemingly quite reasoned, view point provided in the interests of balance.