Magog's party rejected

Tickets for the $47.50-a-head party had already been selling

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014
Bertie Burleigh stand
Peggy Gordon's owner Bertie Burleigh

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New Plymouth bar owner Bertie Burleigh says he is devastated that his application for a special liquor licence to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Magog Motorcycle Club has been rejected.

District licensing commissioner Alex Matheson said in a decision released yesterday the committee would not approve Mr Burleigh's application.

Mr Burleigh, owner of Peggy Gordon's Celtic Bar, had planned a street party on Egmont St on March 1 from 4pm to 12am, with five rock bands at the function.

Food, alcohol and drinks would also be served in the enclosed vicinity.

Mr Burleigh told the Taranaki Daily News that he was "devastated by the poor decision".

Mr Burleigh had previously successfully run 17 street closures for events and would today meet with members to discuss what their next steps would be.

There was a possibility the event might be held outside New Plymouth, he said.

"We haven't been given the best possible chance to do what we can do well," he said.

Tickets for the $47.50-a-head party had already been selling, but Mr Burleigh was unsure how many had been sold so far.

Application to have Egmont St closed was approved by the council last year under the Local Government Act.

Mr Burleigh had hoped the evening would draw up to 1500 guests, some of whom would be patched members of the Magog Motorcycle Club.

Mr Matheson said while Mr Burleigh had shown himself to be a "competent licensee" and had given largely "uncontested evidence" as to his abilities to host such events, the committee felt the "very nature" of it was in contrast to the principles and purpose of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

Mr Matheson said the issue of the licence would impact on the amenity and good order of the locality by more than a minor extent.

"It was noted that the capacity of the applicant's licensed premises was likely to be insufficient to accommodate the numbers of people expected to attend," Mr Matheson said.

It was also decided there were "significant risks" associated with an undetermined, but potentially very high, number of patrons leaving the event at midnight and entering the township under the influence of alcohol.

Mr Matheson also said he was mindful of the concerns raised by both the agencies and the objectors who saw the event as "high risk".

The police stance was that the Magog Motorcycle Club was not a suitable group to be part of such a function.

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But Mr Matheson wanted to emphasise the evidence "did not influence" the committee's decision in declining the application. Other members of the committee that made the decision were Channa Perry from the Taranaki District Health Board and Stratford JP Barrie Smith.

"The committee took the view that the event was intended to be open to the public and there was no direct evidence that the attendance of members [the Magog Motorcycle Club] would significantly increase the risks associated with the event," he said.

But the committee's main concerns were the risks associated with the "size, scale and location" of the event as opposed to the nature of any individuals that may attend the event.

- Taranaki Daily News

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