Retailers in Sydney could be open for business until 10pm every night if reforms to planning laws from the City of Sydney Council are approved.
Under the planned changes, businesses in Sydney’s CBD and surrounding shopping districts will be able to open from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week.
Retailers would be able to implement the changed trading hours without new development consent, the council said on Wednesday.
The changes are designed to bring life back into Sydney after dark.
“We can’t change the lockout laws, that’s a State Government decision,” the chairwoman of the cultural and creative committee, Councillor Jess Scully, said.
“What we are trying to do is impact all of the policy areas and push all the levers and buttons so we can to try and bring more activity and more diversity back to these areas,” she said.
The proposal offers grants to businesses so they can host night-time activities and removes red tape for small-scale cultural events.
It also proposes putting the onus on residential developers who build near existing commercial or entertainment venues, to manage any noise issues.
‘Yes’, says Keep Sydney Open and the Business Chamber
Sydney Business Chamber has supported the proposed plans, their executive director Patricia Forsythe said, although she still holds some concerns.
“Thursday night trading is not as strong it used to be because all-day Saturday and Sunday trading has been embraced by the community,” she said.
“The second thing is that it won’t be a case of a single business in one of the suburbs opening up and then imagining we are going to breathe life back into that high street.”
Anti-lockout law campaigners Keep Sydney Open have welcomed the reforms.
“I think City of Sydney has been doing some really great work in trying to rebuild Sydney’s nightlife after the effects of the lockout laws,” Keep Sydney Open director Tyson Koh said.
He said there was still a long way to go in order to restore a more vibrant nightlife to Sydney.
“We know that they have been quite restrictive in terms of their licensing compliance requirements and also allowing extensions to trading hours in certain venues and businesses,” Mr Koh said.
After a public consultation period, the proposals will need the Department of Planning approval, which is likely to come late 2018.