The City of Sydney will have blood on its hands if it doesn’t help get Imperial Hotel patrons off Erskineville Rd and into the safety of the newly renovated venue, its owner has claimed.

Imperial owner Shadd Danesi has made another plea to the Council to allow his original request for 788 patron numbers, filing a fresh application for the hotel last Saturday.

He told Sydney Star Observer it was about keeping the surplus 346 people off the street corner that even the city’s traffic engineers acknowledge is dangerous.

This follows council’s decision last month to grant only a minor increase in patron numbers to 442 -” despite the recent closure of the area’s other major gay venue, the Newtown Hotel.

We’re expecting there to be much higher demand, because of the Newtown and because of the renovations, Danesi said. But we don’t want to see 360-odd people out on the footpath.

A railing along Erskineville Rd, originally required by city planners, was knocked by the city’s traffic engineers fearing pedestrians could get trapped on the other side. This has Danesi worried that patrons queuing outside will be a bigger problem than just noise, with safety from passing vehicles also a concern.

Eventually someone will die. Those 360 people could be safe inside, rather than exposed to the dangers outside, from cars, from abuse, from homophobic violence, he said.

There’s no logical reason for them to not be inside, other than they [council] don’t want the numbers.

A City of Sydney spokesman said council generally didn’t approve of railings because they can cause more danger to pedestrians.

The Imperial’s new application will also include a new design for the rooftop stiletto based on the Priscilla movie. Danesi said he took the advice of gay independent Cr Philip Black and made it smaller, thinner, fixed and more in keeping with the building’s art deco style.

DCM to close at midnight

The Land and Environment Court has ordered DCM to close at midnight.

The problematic venue was a key feature in Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s late night walk along the Golden Mile earlier this year, along with Police Minister David Campbell and Sydney Star Observer columnist Maxi Shield as the authorities scrambled to deal with an influx of homophobic violence.

Meanwhile, just weeks after the Gaff nightclub and restaurant appealed for council help to keep daytime trade on Oxford St alive, the venue had its expansion application refused again.

The Small Permits Appeals Panel upheld the council’s earlier decision to deny a plan that would have seen the club’s ground floor expand as a day-time restaurant and night-time smoking area.

Last month Gaff owner Steve Baldacchino told SSO the strip was dying, and the city needed to support businesses offering day-time trade and getting smokers off the street.

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