Hallelujah, The Deck Geelong has won the battle to keep their beer garden
12.11.2020

Hallelujah, The Deck Geelong has won the battle to keep their beer garden

Literally the best news of 2020.

Since its killer make over a couple of year ago, The Deck on Gheringhap Street has quickly become a favourite amongst locals looking for a cold beer, quality meal and decent tunes to see them through the week. In a historical hotel dating back to 1854 (when it was The Golden Age), it was given the ultimate refresh with the brand-new wooden style décor, bigger fridges (which means more room for beer), and patched up floors, and most importantly, one hell of a renovated beer garden.

With ample seating and standing and a balcony area overlooking the bay, the outside area has been the ideal location to spend your summer for the last few years, being the perfect spot for a few Coronas, some banter with mates and some lazy afternoon tunes as the sun sets.

Our hopes and dreams of a perfect summer sesh were quashed in November last year when it was revealed that The Deck had lost its fight to keep its beer garden open after noise complaints from residents in a nearby apartment complex (a NEW apartment complex, might we add). Due to the complaints, the council demanded it be turned in carparking. The city had argued the beer garden was being operated without planning approval, and that the music and patron noise was in breach of its 1997 permit.

Now, in a twist of wonderful fate, the 165-year-old pub in the heart of Geelong has won the battle to save its beer garden.

The Deck’s owners successfully called on the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to overturn a Greater Geelong City Council refusal to amend planning documents which would allow the beer garden to operate under a new covering.

As reported by the Geelong Addy, VCAT members overturned the city’s decision, amending the pub’s permit to “reduce the carparking requirement to zero” and “allow background music to be played within the covered beer garden area”.

The council had refused to amend the permit saying that the proposed structure to enclose the beer garden wouldn’t address the existing noise issues associated with the space’s used, but VCAT disagreed.

“We do not agree with council that the failure of the application to resolve existing noise issues associated with the operation of the deck areas is a reason to refuse the application. The question of whether the hotel is in breach of existing permit conditions is not a matter which is before us.

“Even if it was, the planning regulatory framework does not say that one of the potential penalties for a planning contravention is to have a separate planning permit application refused.”

The people over at VCAT also decided not to impose permit conditions on the pub as requested by the council, including limiting the hours of operation of the beer garden and imposing general patron noise limits.

As ordered by VCAT, The Deck cannot open their beer garden until construction of a covered structure was completed, slated to be finished by March next year.

For a pub that’s been operating for 165 years, it would have been a damn shame to have their beloved beer garden turned into carparking, especially now in a time where our hospitality industry has already suffered blow after blow.

The Deck are located at 2-4 Gheringhap Street, Geelong.