Residents angry over franchise restaurant

Local residents are angry after Moonee Valley City Council approved a Jimmy Grants franchise restaurant in Ascot Vale.

The proposed site is at 544 Mount Alexander Road and backs onto a laneway shared with residential properties.

Councillor Nicole Marshal motioned for a “patron management plan” to be added to the list of requirements during Tuesday’s council meeting.

The plan had to include the restaurant’s crowd control measures, security arrangements and how noise emissions would be controlled.

“There should be minimal amenity impacts to surrounding residents,” Councillor Marshall said.

The council voted against these restrictions.

“These additions to the permit are quite onerous,” Councillor Cam Nation said. “This is not a nightclub we’re dealing with here.”

The council said the restaurant would benefit the area.

“This could be one of the best things to happen to Moonee Valley,” Councillor Nation said. “Think of the calibre coming in.”

Councillor Marshal is “very upset” the council was not “proactive” with residents’ interests.

“It concerns me enormously that the council is not interested in the residents,” Councillor Marshal said. “They will be very upset that this opportunity has been lost.”

Local residents are “disappointed and concerned” about how the development will impact their homes.

“My bedroom is four meters away from the back of the restaurant,” resident Janet McGaw said. “There is no rear wall there, only a rear bar and a roller door.”

“It won’t stop patrons from spilling out into the laneway, having their drinks and smokes out the back,” McGaw said.

Residents are considering taking action against the ruling.

“The only course of action at this point is to go to VCAT,” McGaw said. “But VCAT costs a lot of money and takes a long time.”

While the council did believe “further legislation needs to be enforced” on local restaurants, they said these restrictions would only single out the franchise.

“It’s a little bit late to set a precedent now,” Councillor Shirley Cornish said. “It would be discriminatory against the business.”

(Written on 30/4/15)

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