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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Shops Will Be Able to Stay Open Later and Host Small Events Under a New City of Sydney Plan

The local council wants to help revitalise the city's nightlife by allowing later trading and encouraging small-scale cultural events.
By Ben Hansen
April 06, 2021
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By Ben Hansen
April 06, 2021
  shares

Back in November 2020, David Abram, owner of the now-closed Sydney cultural institution Freda's and new venture Cafe Freda's, told Concrete Playground that he was optimistic for the future of Sydney's nightlife and culture. "The reality is the talent is here. The ambition is here. We just need spaces, support and far less red tape," Abram said.

While there is still a way to go, the ball has started rolling and this red tape has begun to be cut in the five months since Freda's closed. In November, a series of archaic laws surrounding live music venues were rolled back; in February, the last remaining lockout laws were finally abolished; and in March, COVID-19 restrictions on venues were removed, once again allowing dancing in New South Wales.

Now, the latest development in the push to revitalise Sydney's night time economy is coming from the City of Sydney, which has announced plans to "revitalise Sydney after dark". As approved by the local government body on Monday, March 29, the city council's plan includes several reforms to restrictive laws — with the changes aiming to help businesses operate more freely and to encourage more small-scale cultural events to pop up in the CBD.

Under the new reforms, local businesses and shops will be able to open until 10pm without needing to apply for permission from regulators. Also, a range of spaces around the city — including offices, retail spaces and community facilities — will now be able to hold "minimal impact small-scale" cultural events and activities without needing to apply for permission.

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"It is so important that we make and maintain space for artists in our cities," Lord Mayor Clover Moore said. "By removing red tape, we are making it easier for small businesses to open later, put on small-scale cultural events and set up maker spaces in the heart of our villages."

The Erskineville Town Hall is also set to be revitalised under the new plan, with the City of Sydney leading a push for it to be turned into a multi-purpose cultural space, cinema and live music venue. The hall is currently available to hire for private hire, but doesn't run its own program of public events.

The result of research and consultation since 2015, the proposed reforms will now be submitted to the New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for final approval. And, according to the Lord Mayor, they'll be accompanied by similar plans from the Inner West Council to lift Sydney's nightlife throughout the inner city.

For more information about the City of Sydney's plans for Sydney's nightlife, head to the council's website.

Top image: Jamie Williams 

Published on April 06, 2021 by Ben Hansen

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