The Sydney Opera House has been accused of holding concerts in its forecourt without having the correct planning approvals in place — a claim which the iconic venue has now denied.
The Australian claims that findings of an investigation it conducted into the Opera House’s planning approvals shows the venue has been holding forecourt concerts on an expired Develop Application (DA).
The Australian says the venue’s initial DA for the forecourt (in 2004) was valid for three years, and was modified and extended in 2005, 2007 and 2008, before the final amendment expired on 31st December 2009.
It’s claimed the Opera House then continued operating as if the DA was still valid, going on to host huge forecourt concerts by the likes of The National, Tame Impala, Crowded House and Florence + The Machine, the last of which led to the venue being fined $15,000 for breaching noise limits.
In a statement to Music Feeds, Sydney Opera House has denied The Australian‘s findings, saying:
“The original development consent relating to the use of the Southern Forecourt and Monumental Steps for temporary events and functions was approved in 2004.
“If a development consent is acted on within the required timeframe, which it was, it cannot lapse.
“In August 2016, the Opera House submitted an application to modify the DA. The application was approved by NSW Department Planning & Environment on 14 October 2016, following community consultation.
“Last year, the Department’s compliance officers investigated whether events on the Forecourt were operating according to planning legislation and a fine was issued for a noise breach. No further action was taken.”
In October 2016, the Department of Planning and Environment approved modifications to the Sydney Opera House’s current Development Application (DA), including changes to how sound levels are monitored during outdoor performances.
Despite that, it’s now likely that fewer shows will be held on the forecourt, after prominent Australian concert promoter Michael Chugg (who hosted Florence + The Machine’s forecourt shows) revealed he no longer wants to hold concerts there.
The Sydney Opera House doesn’t have any forecourt shows planned at the time of writing.