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Violent Soho Join Outcry Against 'Sad' Demolition Of Historic Brisbane Venue

17 October 2019 | 1:00 pm | Lauren Baxter

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The historic Mansfield Tavern, known in its heyday as the Rock Arena, will be demolished to build a dining and retail hub.

As reported by The Courier Mail, the Brisbane City Council’s City Planning Committee voted earlier this week in favour of the redevelopment plans.

“We are committed to building the infrastructure our growing city needs, while protecting the look and feel of our suburbs,” Councillor Ryan Murphy told the publication.

“This redevelopment will be a shot in the arm for this tired site, local residents are going to be thrilled that the James Street feel is coming to Mansfield.

“Developments like this ensure residents are close to the services they need and the lifestyle and leisure opportunities that they want.”

The venue, which was reportedly sold in February 2017 for $12.25 million, was a “pub-rock mecca”, hosting the likes of Hunters & Collectors, INXS and The Angels.

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Local legends Violent Soho played a special Christmas gig at the tavern in 2017 and ended their No Sleep 'Til Mansfield tour in 2014 at the venue. Speaking to The Music today, James Tidswell expressed his disappointment. 

"It’s sad to lose the Mansfield Rock Arena," he said.

"There’s a lot of Australian music history and I’m psyched my own band has been a part of that but it’s even more crazy seeing Mansfield itself start to gentrify."

The Brisbane City Council City Planning Committee is chaired by Councillor Matthew Bourke with Councillor Steven Toomey serving as Deputy Chair, Councillor Kara Cook serving as Shadow Chair and Councillors James Mackay, Angela Owen and Jonathan Sri additional members.

Sri, Greens Councillor for the Gabba, confirmed to The Music today that he “objected to the approval of this development application for a range of reasons, but [he] was outvoted by the major parties".

"I think it highlights the fact that music venues that are important to the local scene need to be owned and controlled by the community, as opposed to being left in the hands of private investors who are motivated purely by profit, otherwise there’s a high risk of gentrification and redevelopment as property values rise," he said. 

"Often, musos fail to pay close attention to issues like urban planning until it’s too late. In the coming 2020 council election, the Greens will obviously be fighting for more support for live music and the preservation of community hubs, but we’ll need the strong support of the local music scene if we are to have much chance against the major parties.

"Decisions about planning and development are being made in the interests of wealthy investors, rather than the community as a whole. There would have been way better ways to redevelop this site without completely obliterating its character and culture."