Marrickville’s Vic on the Park will soon be heritage listed under a new plan from the Inner West Council. A heritage pub protection program is due to be rolled out, following a report that showed many historic hotels are not heritage listed.
Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said the heritage listing of the iconic pub would be the “top priority” of the program. “At present, the Vic on the Park has no protection against being redeveloped, as it is not heritage listed and is not in a heritage conservation zone.”
The move is a response to large scale conversions of Inner West pubs into other commercial uses, including the transformation of Balmain’s Town Hall Hotel into a gym and massage parlour.
“Our hotels and pubs are cultural institutions and have a value above and beyond the commercial – they have architectural, historical and social significance,” said Byrne.
He said these conversions would set a dangerous precedent, and that council offers had completed an audit of the heritage status of every pub in the Inner West.
“We’ve got to draw a line in the sand and send a clear message that if you buy a heritage hotel in the Inner West you need to operate it as a pub and not convert it into new usage.”
The Council has committed to doing “everything in [their] power” to protect live music venues and popular Inner West venues. Byrne said the “saga” of the Town Hall Hotel showed that although pubs were in heritage conservation areas, the fact they were not heritage listed meant they were provided insufficient protection.
Other pubs that Byrne listed as priorities included the Annandale Hotel, the 3 Weeds, the Welcome Hotel, and the Unity Hall Hotel.
There are currently 66 pubs in the Inner West Local Government Area. 11 have no heritage protection, 24 have protections by their location in a heritage conservation area, and 31 (47%) are individually heritage listed.
The Inner West Council has also pledged to hold a public forum in 2019 on the future of the area’s night-time economy, consulting hotel proprietors, licensees, music venue operators and local businesses.