An interesting planning application has been lodged for reuse of a large empty mechanics garage behind the Red Hill service station in Arthurs Seat Rd. The aim is to transform it into a restaurant – an “amazing BBQ and beer hall” capable of seating 85 folk with a penchant for “slow smoked loveliness and (US) Southern delectables and craft beer from around Victoria”.

And wine, of course, “the finest from across the Mornington Peninsula” for those wishing to gargle something other than fermented hops and grain.

The permit sought is for a liquor licence – no permit is required for the restaurant, the applicant states – covering the hours from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week.

Naturally, neighbours are concerned about a beer hall over their fence, as are the occupants of the next-door scout hall. The hall is marked on the applicant’s plan, but apparently the neighbouring houses went unnoticed by the applicant. The adjoining land is described as “existing farm land”. It’s not: see below. The green-roofed building is the proposed restaurant, facing the scout hall.

p161701-satellite-view-pUnsurprisingly, the neighbours are objecting to what is generally described as a “pop-up restaurant”, comprising a trailable slow cooker of the sort that frequently pops up at markets and the like.

This applicant is also familiar with running nights of “Meat, Music & Merriment”, featuring “a selection of Peninsula brews, wines and ciders and general toe-tapping, knee-slapping festivity”. Red Hill can barely wait – but are Bandicoot’s knees up to a jolly slapping?

The premises had a trial run over the Cup long weekend, thanks, apparently to shire officers, despite certain deficiencies in facilities of the sort one might have expected from a premises built to cater for a few mechanics (Bandicoot’s vehicles were splendidly tended to by Alan Pittock and his merry men over many years) and a service station attendant.

Portable toilets were brought onsite over the three trial days, but one observer noted a gentleman relieving himself beside, rather than in, one of the conveniences.

Bandicoot was told the shire specified only 10 or so clients were allowed for the trial opening days: a wise limit on a facility supplied by only a 13,000-litre water tank and what must be a modest and elderly waste water treatment plant.

The application shows 37 car spaces (only 43 spaces required, apparently), including one “accessible car space”, for patrons and eight staff. Apparently a more modern waste treatment plan is planned, which will require removal of concrete to accommodate a dispersal area – but maybe closer to a retaining wall than permissible.

p161701-cup-weekend-flier-pThe applicant is clearly very optimistic about getting the thumbs-up for the proposal. Its website states: “Unfortunately we are closed at the moment”, then provides “our address details and opening times for pop ups and opening in December”.

The operator, Red Gum BBQ, might encounter a few planning obstacles between now and December, such as the shire health officers’ concerns about existing run-off from the property piped under Arthurs Seat Rd that could only be exacerbated by up to 85 folk munching on Southern delectables and swigging a fine local red seven days a week from breakfast to late evening.

Bandicoot rather likes the sound of it – but the sound of beer hall carousing is not to the neighbours’ liking in this peaceful area. But there’s a silver lining: if the plan goes ahead it will almost certainly reduce the number of break-ins now occurring at the adjacent service station.

The Red Gum BBQ website makes it sound extremely enticing: “Our space will feature craft beers on tap, an open pit room, indoor and outdoor dining, a wall of meat, featuring market costs and details about our meat…” it enthuses.

Without drawing breath it continues: “…a retail space selling second hand southern cookbooks, our sauces and the rest, a kids corner, live music where possible and all of the amazingly authentic, wood smoked meat you have come to know us for.

“We can’t wait to invite you into our own and share this special space with you.”

The staid little village of Red Hill quivers, agog.


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