It’s been a roller coaster ride for the Annandale Hotel over the last few weeks but it has dodged a bullet – or several – and things are finally looking up for the iconic Sydney venue.

Mayor of Leichhardt, Darcy Byrne, has been the Annandale’s knight in shining armour. As The Music reports, the Mayor has successfully implemented a new live music policy that not only protects the venue from the council’s crippling fines and litigations, but also allows it to apply for a 3am operating license; essentially enabling the venue to swim, rather than continue to sink.

Earlier this month the Annandale was facing a seemingly imminent fate, with the owners of the hotel, Matt and Dan Rule, announcing to a private farewell party they would be handing the keys back to the bank due to series financial troubles.

The venue’s long list of struggles included a nasty eight year long legal battle with Leichhardt Municipal Council over late-night trading and noise complaints, and even the capture of two idiotic robbers who were caught on camera pilfering the venue; culminating in a massive debt of around $250,000.

However, the Rule brothers had remained adamant to save the venue synonymous with Sydney’s live music scene, this time last year starting a ‘buy-a-brick’ scheme in a last ditch effort to raise funds and fight back at their debt. On the same day they announced the venue’s slip into receivership the brothers took to social media, declaring, “the hotel is not closed and our goal is to work with the bank to ensure that live music will continue through this period.”

“There’s a growing recognition across all political parties and representatives that we need to revive live music before it’s too late.” – Darcy Byrne, Mayor of Leichhardt.

Their plight to salvage the beloved venue was joined by politicians and musicians alike, with the Mayor of Leichhardt, Darcy Byrne, quickly jumping in defence of the Annandale by creating a petition to end the council’s “fun police” bullying of live music venues.

The mayor’s petition proposed a “good neighbour policy” which focussed on three points: preventing the unnecessary prosecution of live music venues; organising meetings between licensees and residents to resolve noise complaints; and protecting music venues against those unreasonable residential noise complaints.

“It will put an end to Leichhart Council taking action against live music venues,” said Byrne.

Mayor Byrne’s petition quickly gained 1,988 signatures in three days of its release and went on to surpass its initial target of 2,500 signees with more than 4,000 people declaring their support.

Now, Sydney music fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief, with the news of Mayor Byrne’s proposed live music policy being unanimously approved by the council earlier this week, as reported by The Music.

“There’s a growing recognition across all political parties and representatives that we need to revive live music before it’s too late,” Byrne said, who also gave thanks to the 4,000 people who backed his petition.

Byrne has since spoken to the new receivers of the Annandale Hotel, Ferrier Hodgson, who were announced as the new receivers of the venue in the week it fell into receivership, and they expressed strong interest in Byrne’s invitation to re-apply for extended trading hours.

“[The receivers] said that the restriction to close the venue at 1am rather than 3am has contributed to the venue’s difficulties,” said Byrne.

The Mayor points out that this long-fought battle isn’t over quite yet, saying “it’s highly likely that the same handful of residents who have made complaints in the past will oppose any attempt to extend the venue’s hours but I think if we want to make Parramatta Road a live music hub then we need to have these planning controls.”

“We’ve got to move in a hurry,” he added, “send a message to any potential buyers of the Annandale.”

Mayor Bryne has also made it clear that he plans to spread the reach of his Good Neighbour Policy and implement it further around the state and in other councils.

It’s been a long haul for the Annandale, and for any Sydney punter who’s been following the many ups and downs of this story, but for now the venue has secured a strong position in its battle against the council.

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