By Gabriella Payne
Greater Dandenong City Council has come to a decision on a contested planning application on the introcution of live music at Dandenong Market, in a bid to both support local business and keep nearby residents happy.
The recent motion to introduce live music performances at the Dandenong Market, which would play during the day and up until 11pm most nights of the week, was met with public outcry, with the council receiving 11 objections to the proposed idea.
The issues raised by nearby residents all generally related to either noise, anti-social behaviour, non-compliance with the existing planning permit and concerns that the site was a “nightclub disguised as a food venue”.
To accommodate residents’ concerns, the council’s planning team came up with a compromise, with Councillor Sean O’Reilly pushing forward an alternative motion which will introduce live music performances at the venue on Friday and Saturdays only for the next twelve months, at which point the decision will be reviewed again.
When the decision was reached at the Greater Dandenong City Council meeting on Monday 30 November, Cr O’Reilly said he thought it was “a good win for the applicant, as well as the surrounding residents”.
“There has been quite a bit of discussion on this and I take other Councillors viewpoints that one of the things that this council should be doing front and centre is supporting local business, particularly in the time of Covid recovery,” Cr O’Reilly said.
“But I’m glad that this council has decided tonight to balance that against the surrounding residents of Dandenong Market.”
The new motion will allow performances to take place on Fridays and Saturdays between the hours of 11.30am to 2.30pm and 5pm to 11pm, “to ensure that the primary focus of the business is on the serving of meals”.
Cr O’Reilly said that he understood the views of those residents who had complained.
“They live there, they expect it to be a market,” he said, adding that live music was something that “they didn’t envisage” as part of the market.
“The recommendation we have now balances that out and allows live music, including karaoke, to happen two nights a week as a starting point and then be reviewed,” Cr O’Reilly said.
The City of Greater Dandenong Council said it recognises “that live music is an important part of the state’s culture and economy,” and hoped that this decision would provide a good compromise for both parties.
The live music site is located “on the south eastern side of the market, approximately 170 metres from the nearest residential dwelling on King Street” according to the council.
Changes to the food and drinks premises in the new proposal will see an increase from 96 patrons allowed onsite to 164, and an increase in the area used by the venue growing by 150 square metres.
To keep noise down, a noise management plan will be implemented.
According to the council, the noise management plan “must outline the type of entertainment or acts, speaker height, position and the direction the speakers will face, the direction the stage will face, methods and procedures for measuring and monitoring noise, details of the complaints register and phone number”.
The council hopes that “the playing of live music will further encourage and support the existing use of the land for retail use” within the market and help stimulate and support local businesses as they recover from a tough year.