COUNCILLORS have expressed concerns about an Orange hotel’s application to extend late-night trading hours to 4am.
A development application from the Occidental Hotel to extend the upstairs bar’s trading hours from 12am to 4am will be put before the sustainable development committee (SDC) today.
Councillor Neil Jones told the Central Western Daily he was “surprised” and “disappointed” to hear the hotel wanted to open later.
“I think we’ve got enough hotels with late-night trading in Orange,” he said.
Cr Jones said patrons looking for later trading hours such as shift workers were “adequately catered for” by other venues.
A submission from the Canobolas Local Area Command (LAC) “strongly objects” to the 4am licence but suggests a compromise be reached with trading hours extended to 3am.
Cr Jones said he supported the police’s position with 3am “quite late enough”.
SDC chairman Jeff Whitton said he doubted councillors would “go against the recommendation and wishes of the local area command”.
“I’m yet to be convinced we need hotels to be opened to 4am,” he said.
“I take on board the concerns of the local area command but also applaud that the owners have actually gone ahead and made an application to approve the trading hours.”
Cr Whitton said in the past Orange hotels had been given the opportunity to open later than 3am but had made the decision not to.
The Orange central business district has nine licensed hotels with extended trading, according to the submission from the Canobolas LAC, with two trading to 3am and all complying with a 1.30am lockout.
Councillor Glenn Taylor said he was confident the council would make an “informed decision” with the application “assessed on its merits”.
The hotel is also seeking retrospective approval for a range of alterations made to the hotel by the previous owners, including the removal of the front bar.
Orange Liquor Accord chairman Bill Kelly said he was not authorised to comment on behalf of other hotels and their trading hours.
Occidental Hotel management could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.