Rebels bikie club beats council ban to keep Victoria Park HQ

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WA’S biggest bikie club has won a long-running battle with a local council to keep their clubhouse open.

The State Administrative Tribunal recently overturned a decision by the Town of Victoria Park to shut down the Rebels’ clubhouse in East Victoria Park.

Rebel Paul Hadfield sought a review of the council vote, arguing the Milford St warehouse had been used by “motorcycle enthusiasts” for 12 years.

In that time, no complaints had been lodged with the council by the public and some neighbouring tenants “strongly supported” the Rebels’ change of use application.

The SAT decision was welcomed by one of the Rebels’ neighbours, Julie Richardson, 63, who runs a training organisation from one of the 21 units in the complex.

“They have never been of any concern to us. They haven’t caused any problems at all,” she said. “I work there most days and we’ve never had any problems with noise or parties or bad behaviour.”

The Rebels’ clubhouse in East Victoria Park. picture: Daniel Wilkins

Ms Richardson said she wasn’t even aware the outlaw motorcycle gang was a neighbour for the first three years.

“They come along to the council of owners’ meeting and they’re always courteous and helpful,” she said.

“I don’t know what other things they get up to, but as far as being a fellow tenant it’s been absolutely no problem at all and we’re happy for them to stay on.

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“If anything, there is more security with them. We’ve definitely had a decrease in the amount of vandalism since they moved in.”

The saga began in 2014 when the Town of Victoria Park became aware the Rebels had been using a warehouse for their twice-weekly meetings.

Julie Richardson with Rebels Matthew Gibbs, Jason Kemp Paul Hadfield, Joshua Bolton and Peter Antunovich inside their clubhouse. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

The council told the Rebels to either stop using the warehouse or apply for a change of use.

The club subsequently sought planning approval to convert the premises to a “clubhouse” but the bid was refused last year.

Late last month SAT granted planning approval subject to conditions that no more than 30 people be allowed in the clubhouse at any one time, there be no external signage and it only be used on Tuesday and Friday nights.

Town of Victoria Park mayor Trevor Vaughan said he was disappointed.

“I’m very disappointed that the State Administrative Tribunal has agreed to allow a nonconforming use in our industrial zone,” he said.

The Rebels were contacted for comment.

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PHIL HICKEY and TREVOR PADDENBURG
Source of News article: 
perthnow.com.au




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