A sports bar pub in historic Salamanca has been at the forefront of a debate over preserving “character and heritage” while being a vibrant part of an entertainment precinct.

The Pavilion at Salamanca is in an old three-storey former warehouse in the seaside tourist hotspot in Hobart.

Not aware of the strictness of local council regulations, in 2023 the pub installed additional TVs at each end of the outdoor area.

The premise is subject to the Sullivans Cove Planning Scheme and the screens were added without Council permission, which co-owner Blair Brownless admits was “a mistake”.

The {Pavilion’s outdoor area and TVs. Image: City of Hobart

They soon attracted a warning and he submitted the appropriate application in November, and reports that the 30-day development notice drew no complaints from locals.

The code prohibits “electronic or video graphics or mechanically moving figures or graphics that is for commercial purposes” – in order to protect the heritage of buildings in the area. Heritage officer Nick Booth opted that the TVs are not in keeping with the historic nature of the precinct, deeming the proposal “unacceptable”.

The presence of the screens is said to amount to “the erection of signs on a structure adjacent to places of cultural significance” – making them in breach of the code. In his response to Brownless, Booth voiced they would “detract from the character and heritage value of the adjacent buildings individually and collectively”.

Image: City of Hobart

Brownless believes he is already very mindful of the heritage nature of Salamanca. The pub dons no signage structure, but has built its business on the entertainment strip on a point of difference in the precinct, being about live sport. The publican stresses that the screens are not obtrusive and can’t even be seen from outside the venue.

While the Pavilion still has multiple screens inside, he told Yahoo News Australia the loss of the outdoor screens will be “detrimental”.

The dilemma lies in Salamanca’s historic preservation being in conflict with its role as an entertainment precinct.

Council’s position prompted local residents to bemoan the hand of the ‘fun police’, suggesting the powers that be in the City of Hobart are “out of touch”.

But in a resolution that might be a ‘sign’ of the times, at a planning meeting on Wednesday night Council opted to grant “a retrospective permitand the Pavilion will not be forced to remove the TVs.

Image: Instagram
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