NSW Councils to boost the ‘Night Time Economy’

Local Government NSW and four major NSW councils will hold a forum on the Night Time Economy..

They have formalised the term into an acronym – NTE. The forum will be held in the Parkroyal Parramatta hotel on 12 October (during the daytime). Details here.

The forum is the first tangible result of a work from a NTE Working Group formed in 2016 by LGNSW and the councils of Wollongong City, City of Sydney, City of Newcastle, City of Parramatta and Waverley Council.

The City of Sydney’s Transport, Heritage and Planning Sub-Committee has released a discussion paper ahead of the forum called ‘An Open and Creative City – planning for culture and the night time economy’.

The discussion paper sets out proposals and options that “aim to make it easier for shops and businesses to open later in the city’s business precincts, support more small-scale cultural uses in existing under-used buildings, and provide a clear and fair approach to managing noise from entertainment venues.”

The discussion paper also asks for feedback from stakeholders, through submission and planned briefings, workshops and community focus groups.

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the forum was an important opportunity for night-time economy experts from across NSW to build their knowledge and share experiences.

“NSW has the largest night-time economy in Australia, so it’s essential that experts from local governments across the state work together to ensure the sector continues to grow,” she said.

“This forum will give policymakers from both inner city areas and regional centres the opportunity to share best-practice approaches, workshop the challenges they’re facing, and develop their capacity to shape vibrant, safe and sustainable night-time economies.”

The forum organisers are expecting representatives on 29 councils and state government agencies at the forum. Presentations, workshops and panel discussions will explore topics including culture and creativity, placemaking and urban design, policy and research, planning and regulation, and services, infrastructure and safety.

“NSW’s night-time economy is valued at $37.3 billion and supports more than 34,000 businesses and 342,000 jobs,” said Lord Mayor Moore.

She quoted figures that showed that 61 percent of all core night-time economy businesses are food-related, 31 percent are entertainment-led and 8 per cent are drink related businesses such as pubs and clubs.

The City of Sydney discussion paper said there are several steps required to make changes to the City’s planning controls to boost the Night Time Economy, which will involve amendments to the Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 and the Sydney Development Control Plan 2012.

A key proposal is to allow shops to open until 10pm without the need for council approval. “Exempt development is of minor impact and does not need a development approval from the City as long as it meets certain criteria.

“The criteria we propose include limiting its application to shops and some business, with licensed premises and cafes and restaurants excluded. The areas where this will apply are those that have existing retail and businesses, to ensure consistency with the overall character of the neighbourhood.

“Removing the requirement for a shop or business to get development approval to extend their opening hours will make it easier for operators to respond flexibly to changing retail opportunities, such as local festivals and longer summer evenings. Combined with other initiatives, such as destination marketing and our grants program, we can support and encourage later opening hours.”

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