Police fears over Black Uhlans bikie club bid to relaunch in Albury

STRIPPED: Police removed Black Uhlans signage from the heavily fortified Townsend Street clubhouse in raids last year
STRIPPED: Police removed Black Uhlans signage from the heavily fortified Townsend Street clubhouse in raids last year

ALBURY Council would enable an illegal gang to run a criminal enterprise if a planning application for the Black Uhlans clubhouse was approved, according to police. 

There are fears the proposal, if approved by council, would legitimise the outlaw motorcycle gang and provide a platform to conduct illegal activity. 

NSW Police has lodged a lengthy submission to the council opposing the bikies’ plans. 

The Uhlans want to relaunch their heavily fortified Townsend Street clubhouse as a function centre, which requires council approval.

The venue was shut down last May after raids found ice and cannabis on members, a large amount of alcohol being supplied illegally and knuckle dusters.

Officers stripped the club bare, taking hundreds of items.

The police submission noted “reputed criminals” had also been issued notices for consorting.

“If the Albury City Council was to accept the application, it would effectively be allowing and enabling a criminal gang to operate a private function centre within the city with legal legitimacy, providing them with the opportunity to commit crime,” the submission states.

“Information available to NSW Police Force suggests that the premises are being used to plan and conduct an organised criminal enterprise.

“By approving the subject application and permitting the use sought, the council may be assisting in enabling the gang to engage in anti-social behaviour and criminal activity through the Albury local government area.”

Black Uhlans bikies have previously been linked to murder, drug trafficking and sexual assaults.

Police said people may feel uncomfortable objecting the proposal.

“(They) may fear reprisals if seen to be standing in the way of an outlaw motorcycle club gang,” they said. 

“It is incumbent upon council to consider the rights of people living within close proximity of the subject premises and consider how the proposed development may affect these people, even in the absence of a formal objection from them.”

If approved, police want to have restrictions imposed including open access for officers. 

While the development application lists the proposal as a “function centre”, it also notes the site will be windowless “clubrooms associated with a motorcycle club”.

The estimated cost of the works is listed as $38,300. 

Their proposal, lodged late last year, lists the site as “a meeting place and for social activities associated with a local motorcycle club”. 

The development application will likely be considered by councillors late next month.

EDITORIAL: Why we don't want Uhlans ‘function centre’