The ubiquitous “VIP Lounge” signs that adorn the facades of Sydney pubs might, in fact, breach council rules on signage that has “excessive or special illumination schemes.”
Surry Hills resident Steve Pate raised the issue with the council and, after the council inspected pokies signs outside three pubs near Oxford Street — the Oxford Hotel, the Courthouse Hotel and the Colombian Hotel, if you’re interested — it found that it was unlikely these signs would have been approved for erection.
“It is unlikely that the City would have approved these illuminated flashing signs if the venues’ operators had submitted development applications to install them,” wrote the council’s executive manager for planning and development Andrew Thomas in a letter seen by The Sydney Morning Herald.
“We are further investigating the signs’ compliance in accordance with our development controls, and will take action as required.”
As well as prohibiting excessive or special illumination schemes on signage, the City of Sydney also discourages signs that are “flashing, intermittently illuminated” or use “sequenced lighting.”
As a result of the small Oxford Street investigation, the council said that it would review all signage outside gaming rooms in the local government area.
Oxford Hotel owner Harris Kospetas said he was aware of a council crackdown on the signage but didn’t know anymore. The Courthouse said it hadn’t been contacted by the council about the signs, but would work constructively if required. The Colombian’s licensee didn’t respond to the SMH’s request for comment.
The council also said that if signs are found the unauthorised, it may issue orders for their removal and would consider fines and penalties. State laws also prohibit gambling-related signs outside venues, including signs that use “a term or expression frequently associated with gambling”.
Lead image: A VIP Lounge sign outside the Keg & Brew Hotel in Surry Hills. It is unclear whether this sign contravenes the council’s rules.