IT’S BACK to the drawing board for Sunset Events; the promoter is down but not out after its plans for a tavern and concert venue at the J-Shed was knocked back by the WA planning commission this week.
The WAPC said there wasn’t a community need for the proposed venue, which was also out of kilter with the low-key ethos of the council’s West End conservation policy.
Sunset will turn in its keys to the J-Shed studio to Fremantle council next month even though it has a 21-year lease starting in July 2017.
Managing director David Chitty says Sunset is negotiating with the council and is still looking at a scaled-back proposal.
“Whilst we have a 21 year lease we don’t have approval to operate anything there yet,” Mr Chitty said.
“The council has got to represent all the stakeholders and on balance it wasn’t approved… so we’re spending some time listening to that feedback and looking at the reasoning behind it and having discussions about what will be more appropriate in that space,” Mr Chitty said.
However, Mr Chitty is not fully confident that Sunset can meet council restrictions, and hasn’t ruled out backing out of the lease.
“Look if there’s not a match there in this next round of discussions, yeah it doesn’t make sense to continue the journey,” he said.
The council’s acting director of city business, Tom Griffiths, says the council will call for expressions of interest from groups able to use the studio until Sunset gets the keys back in July.
“At this stage, the city is fulling expecting Sunset Events to take on the lease and the performance criteria in July,” Mr Griffiths said.
He says the promoter had been urged to submit and new development application that met the council’s aim of an arts and community-focused venue.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM