Sydneysiders back 24-hour city vision

A suite of sweeping reforms allowing businesses to trade well into the early hours of the morning could come to fruition from next month after Sydney residents overwhelmingly backed a shake-up of the city’s night time planning controls.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore

The plans, backed in 85 per cent of submissions to council during a two-month consultation period, could see Sydney become “one of the world’s best 24-hour cities,” according to the city’s Lord Mayor.

The proposed changes, which council says represent some of the biggest changes to city planning in over a decade, would see the area from Darling Harbour through to Hyde Park transformed into a 24-hour city centre and some businesses along main streets in  inner city suburbs like Glebe, Surry Hills and Redfern allowed to stay open until 2 am instead of midnight.

The new planning controls would also see venues hosting live performances or creative events in late-night trading areas allowed to trade for an extra hour and unlicensed businesses like bookstores and hairdressers allowed to trade up to 24 hours a day.

A bustling late-night trading area would be introduced in some of Sydney’s fastest growing neighbourhoods, including Barangaroo, Dank Street and Green Square under the plan, while Alexandria would be home to a new cultural precinct.

Overwhelming support

More than 900 residents supported the proposed changes, which are aimed at helping council to manage queuing and crowding at hotspots while diversifying Sydney’s nightlife and supporting local business.

If given the go-ahead by council next week, the new development control plan would come into operation next month, and businesses would be allowed to apply through a development application for their trading hours to be extended.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore says the move is about balancing the need for a vibrant night economy with ensuring the impacts on neighbourhoods are managed.

“In their submissions, more than 900 people told us the changes would help revitalise and diversify Sydney’s nightlife, improve our standing as a global city, support local businesses, provide more opportunities for shift workers and visitors or encourage a safe night-time environment,” she said.

With most venues in the central city trading until 5 am, the amendments would have drastic implications for business.

The reforms come after 10,000 people last year called for a boost to Sydney’s nightlife following the introduction of controversial lock out laws.

Chris Lamont from the NSW Business Chamber says the move is good news for Sydney’s economy.

“Sydney’s nightlife is a significant contributor to the economy, social fabric and culture, helping shape our city as Australia’s most significant tourist destination. It also promotes employment and investment, and helps encourage the public to participate in trade, culture, and the arts beyond standard work hours,” Mr Lamont said.

“Changes to the development control plan to expand night-time activity in the city centre is a positive step toward growing our city while managing impacts appropriately. We particularly welcome changes to the plan that will expand traditional ‘night-time spots’ to locations like Green Square.”

Council will consider the plan on May 13.

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