Three men were arrested off Oxford St following a brawl in the early hours of Sunday morning, just days after the adjacent Burdekin Hotel won the right to trade continuously from 8am Friday to midnight Sunday.

Police arrived at the corner of Liverpool and Yurong Streets to find a number of males fighting, a police spokeswoman said. Two men were charged and a third man fined for offensive behaviour.

Inquiries revealed all parties involved in the fight were part of a function at a nearby hotel, where an argument allegedly developed about where to go after the function, the spokeswoman said.

Police from the Surry Hills Alcohol Regulatory Compliance Squad are continuing inquiries into the circumstances leading up to the fight. Officers have asked for witnesses to come forward and contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Burdekin Hotel owner Anna Stillone said the brawl had nothing to do with them, but security from the hotel intervened anyway.

The hotel, which corners Liverpool and Oxford Streets, won later trading hours and entertainment licenses on all five floors in a Land and Environment Court decision handed down on Friday. The licenses are for a three-year trial period.

In addition to the 24-hour weekend trading, the hotel can also trade until 2am during weekdays. City of Sydney Council unanimously refused the changes in November last year.

Residents formed a coalition called the Hyde Park Community Voice to oppose developments in licensed venues that would bring more people into the area and keep them there later.

But the court found any adverse effects would be avoided if the hotel adhered to its new plan of management and maintained one security guard for every 100 patrons.

The court based its decision in part on NSW Police evidence stating its only concern at this stage is noise complaints, and made no mention of alcohol-related violence except to request an up-to-date CCTV system on all floors.

That evidence was provided in August 2007, before the regional command leadership change that saw the appointment of Assistant Commissioner Cath Burn and Superintendent Donna Adney.

Now four months into the job as Surry Hills Commander, Adney has told the local Liquor Licensing Accord -” consisting of venue owners, police and council -” that drastic improvements need to be made to reduce alcohol-related crime on the entertainment strip.

I went to the last Liquor Accord meeting and told the licensees that if there wasn’t a demonstrable change then we would move swiftly, she told the City of Sydney’s GLBT community forum last week.
Adney has been talking with the City about lock-outs and further restrictions on trading hours, but said she wanted to see more done by venue operators, including coming up with their own code of conduct.

But Anna Stillone said the venues already had them. Donna Adney has never come down to see the hotel, if she had she’d know that we already have a management plan that’s working, Stillone said.

[It] deals with smokers outside the vent as part of our plan. We’ve got security monitoring outside the venue. When the violence started outside the Burdekin, even though it wasn’t anything to do with us, our security went and tried to put it under control, but they didn’t have to.

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