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City of Sydney seeks feedback on proposed future night-time and cultural life

City of Sydney seeks feedback on proposed future night-time and cultural life
October 23, 2020

Looking to re-energise Sydney’s $4 billion night-time economy and to create more opportunities for creative and cultural activities, the City of Sydney is seeking feedback on proposed planning controls.

The draft planning proposals will allow existing shops and businesses to trade until 10pm without any additional development consent, help protect live entertainment venues across the city, and create more opportunities for small scale cultural activities to be held in existing retail office and community spaces. 

Lord Mayor Clover Moore advised “now is the time to breathe life into the night-time and cultural life of our city.

“Small businesses and creative and cultural industries are facing significant challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, with many forced to close or restrict their operations.

“Protecting existing entertainment venues, making it easier for businesses to extend their trading hours where possible and creating more opportunities for cultural activities in new and exciting locations will be crucial to our post-pandemic recovery.

“We would love to see cultural activities in unexpected locations, such as theatre, stand-up comedy, film screenings, seminars or live music in retail stores, warehouses or office buildings.

“These planning changes will pave the way towards a stronger, more creative and diverse night-time economy.”

The new planning controls will:

  • allow existing shops and business to trade in central Sydney and local centres from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week without additional approval
  • allow temporary small-scale cultural activities to take place in existing office, industrial, retail and community facility buildings without an approval
  • make it easier for creative and maker tenants to locate in local centres, such as village high streets
  • allow for performance and entertainment uses at Erskineville Town Hall
  • enable the fair management of entertainment sound to protect live music and performance venues and the community from potential adverse impacts
  • make it easier for small-scale cultural activities to take place where development approval is required.

Under the draft changes, the responsibility for managing impacts of entertainment sound is placed on new development. New residential developments near an existing venue or in a late-night precinct will need to be designed to protect new residents from neighbourhood noise, rather than the existing venues having to change their previously approved operating limits.

The changes also provide better and consistent guidance on acceptable sound levels that must be met by all venues that host entertainment.

Since early 2017, the City of Sydney has been seeking feedback and ideas from the community and cultural industry on these planning changes. The proposed changes were approved by Council in June 2020 and are now on public exhibition for comment.

The City will consider all submissions and report the results to Council and the Central Sydney Planning Committee. If Council approves this planning proposal after public exhibition, the proposal will be sent to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for final approval.

You can view the proposal and give your feedback at 

Submissions close 5pm on Wednesday 18th November 2020.

Image top: Brighton Up Bar, Darlinghurst. Credit Jamie Williams/ City of Sydney; and image above: Fringe Ignite 2014 Courtesy APRA AMCOS/City of Sydney

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7th September 2020 - Night Time Industries Association launches new campaign aimed at younger patrons

27th August 2019 - Kings Cross night club repurposed as multi-level arts hub, Fringe HQ 

24th July 2019 - Lockout laws have devastating impact on Sydney’s night time economy

21st November 2018 - Sydney’s lack of nightlife undermines its ‘extraordinary cultural assets’

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