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‘Unexpected’ events to revive Sydney after dark

June 19, 2020

Shops and businesses on Sydney’s most popular retail strips will be allowed to trade later and hold creative events more easily under a plan to revive the city’s night-life again.

Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore wants proposed changes to planning rules to generate “cultural activity in unexpected locations – stand-up comedy in bookshops, or live music in hairdressing salons”.

The council has proposed a clutch of measures as part of ongoing changes to planning controls that decide trading hours and locations of night-time premises.

Cr Moore said helping businesses which make up the city’s $4 billion night-time economy was “more important than ever” given many had taken a financial battering during the coronavirus crisis.

“With 1.30am lockouts lifted from the city centre and along Oxford Street, we are looking at what a post-coronavirus night time economy could look like. We have an opportunity to reimagine Sydney at night and put in place new planning controls to realise a more diverse and exciting nightlife,” she said.

Under the proposal, to be released on Friday, shops and businesses in central Sydney and “village high streets” will be allowed to trade from 7am to 10pm seven days per week without the need for further development consent.

This would include Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, Macleay Street in Potts Point, King Street in Newtown, Crown Street in Surry Hills, Redfern Street in Redfern and Glebe Point Road in Glebe.

“We want to make it easier for our businesses, from hardware stores to grocers, to be able to open later if they’d like to,” Cr Moore said. The exemptions would not apply to licensed venues.

Small-scale cultural events and creative activities such as live performances, film screenings, talks, seminars and community events will be permitted without a development application in offices and retail premises in business and industrial zones, with the number of events capped at 26 days a year.
Shops and businesses on popular strips, such as King Street in Newtown, had to close during the crisis. CREDIT:LOUIE DOUVIS

The council is also proposing a “fair management of entertainment sound” policy, which will operate in areas where residents are most likely to be affected by music and entertainment noise.

It includes a requirement that new residential developments within 50 metres of an entertainment venue or so-called “24-hour late-night management” zones are designed and built to mitigate noise.

The reforms are designed to help reduce disputes between venue operators and residents.

“The changes will remove regulatory burden from businesses wanting to trade later, provide alternative venues for cultural activities, certainty regarding the future management of new live music venues, and allow a greater range of creative uses in local centres,” the council’s report says.

Night Time Industries Association chairman Mike Rodrigues said the planned reforms would “give consumers more choice, while providing much needed opportunities for artists and creatives”.

Committee for Sydney business lobby group spokesman James Hulme said the reforms would make “a big difference” to the sector, which he said had been “decimated”.

“The changes are long overdue and will encourage new, innovative activities after dark,” he said.

Councillors will vote on the proposed changes later this month before they are put on exhibition for public feedback.

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