Bar hours worry flats manager

Student flats property manager Kathryn Seque is unhappy about potential changes to the opening...
Student flats property manager Kathryn Seque is unhappy about potential changes to the opening hours of Starters Bar. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Extending a student bar’s opening hours could be detrimental to neighbouring flats, a Dunedin property manager says.

But the Otago University Students’ Association, which owns Starters Bar, says it provides a "safe, controlled environment" for students, and followed due process in applying for longer hours.

It has applied to the Dunedin district licensing committee to extend its closing time from 1am until 3am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Property manager Kathryn Seque runs two flats which border the bar and said longer hours would have negative effects on her tenants.

"That’s an extra two hours of noise in a residential area ... If it was anywhere else there would be uproar."

A decision made by the licensing committee last year did not consider Starters Bar to be in, or next to, a residential area under the purposes of the Dunedin local alcohol policy.

Ms Seque was disappointed neither she nor her tenants were contacted by OUSA about the proposed changes.

"It’s disheartening.

"They know who I am and could have spoken to me. All it would have taken is a phone call."

She was not aware the application was made until yesterday.

"They chose to bury their head in the sand rather than consult the neighbours.

"Saying the tenants change each year is a cop-out because the tenants on one side have been there for three years, and the ones on the other side are staying there again next year.

"It’s great the students have somewhere to go.

"However it’s to the detriment of other students who are trying to live, sleep and study surrounding [the bar]."

One of Ms Seque’s tenants, who wished to remain anonymous, said they were disappointed to hear of the proposal.

"One of the reasons we signed [the flat] for next year was because we knew that Starters would close at 1am, so we knew we’d sleep at a reasonable hour.

"Their music literally shakes our house until late already."

OUSA events and venues operations manager Jason Schroeder said it had followed due process in its application, and said changes to licenses were publicly notified.

"We have not received any opposition that we are aware."

It had not approached flat tenants as they changed yearly, "so it does become a difficult process".

There was no intention of being open until 3am every night, he said.

"The permission allows a blanket cover, but it is more relevant to specific events and heavily trafficked evenings."

The application will be considered by the Dunedin district licensing committee at a hearing on Monday.

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