The department has amended the planning system to enable a faster and cheaper process for small bars and pubs to operate outdoor dining.
The City of Sydney Council proposed a 12-month trial of outdoor dining to support local venues and rejuvenate the economy. An amendment to the Codes SEPP is now in place to expand the exempt development pathway and facilitate outdoor dining in the City of Sydney local government area (except for the Rocks).
Venues may now apply to council for an outdoor dining permit as exempt development.
Council and Liquor and Gaming NSW will evaluate the outcomes at the end of the trial (31 October 2021) and any future changes will be subject to the evaluation results.
Codes SEPP amendment
The department exhibited an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for a proposed amendment to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP) from 2 October 2020 until 15 October 2020.
The amendment will facilitate outdoor dining in the City of Sydney local government area (except The Rocks) for the next year. It expands the exempt development pathway for outdoor dining to small bars and pubs enabling a streamlined approvals process.
Thank you to everyone who made a submission. We reviewed and considered all submissions received, and council, Liquor and Gaming NSW provided advice on matters raised.
For more information about the exhibition and to view the EIE, visit the NSW Planning Portal.
Frequently asked questions
The following answers frequently asked questions about the outdoor dining trial.
What was this exhibition about?
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment exhibited an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) that proposed a temporary amendment to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP). It allows small bars and pubs to undertake outdoor dining in the City of Sydney as exempt development.
The City of Sydney Council aims to support economic recovery by creating an alfresco city offering outdoor dining, bars, culture and late-night trading. The council consulted their community to develop the Community Recovery Plan which includes creating a summer of outdoor dining and culture in new spaces such as footpaths and temporary road closures. The NSW Government is assisting the council to facilitate a streamlined approval process to make it easier for businesses to operate outdoor dining on footpaths, in reclaimed spaces and laneways, providing more space to maintain social distancing.
exhibition contributes to the streamlined process by enabling small bars and pubs to provide outdoor dining areas as exempt development instead of needing to obtain development consent. Under these arrangements, business owners apply directly to the council for approval to use the footpath for outdoor dining and be quickly assessed against the council’s Outdoor Dining Policy and Guidelines, at a lower cost to the business. The council is working with Liquor and Gaming NSW to align approvals with liquor licences, for example no overall increases in patron capacity.
What does the amendment do?
Previously the exempt development standards for outdoor dining specifically stated that the development must not be associated with a pub or a small bar. This meant that a pub or small bar owners needed to submit a development application to the council for approval to provide outdoor dining on footpaths, in addition to applying for other council approvals.
The amendment temporarily lifts the restriction on outdoor dining for lawfully operating pubs and small bars in the City of Sydney local government area during the trial from 30 October 2020 until 31 October 2021. Venues in The Rocks area are not included in this amendment but are covered under other proposals.
This amendment aligns the rules for pubs and small bars in the city with those for cafes and restaurants. The amendment does not automatically mean that venues can trade outside or on the footpath. Business owners must apply to the council to seek approval in line with the council’s Outdoor Dining Policy and Guidelines and any other approvals needed under the Roads Act 1993, Local Government Act 1993 and any changes to liquor licences issued under the Liquor Act 2007.
How can venues participate in the trial?
The trial is being run by the City of Sydney Council who will assess outdoor dining applications. This will include a fast-track alignment process for liquor licences with Liquor and Gaming NSW.
Venues should contact the City of Sydney Council for further information. Details of how to apply to the council for outdoor dining approval can be found on the website.
How will I know which venues are participating in the trial?
The council has had discussions with some venues to understand their needs and to help identify locations that might be suitable for the trial. The business would need to apply and be approved by the council to alter their current operations. Please contact the City of Sydney Council for information on specific venues.
What happens after the trial ends?
The amendments to outdoor dining will not apply after the 12-month trial ends. The existing provisions for outdoor dining will recommence at that time.
The City of Sydney Council will determine if they wish to make outdoor dining and the streamlined approval process a permanent feature at the end of the trial, following discussions and consultation with business, Liquor and Gaming NSW and the community.
- If you have any questions about the trial or how your business can be involved, email the City of Sydney Council [email protected]
- For more information, phone our information centre on 1300 305 695. If English isn't your first language and you prefer an interpreter, phone 13 14 50. Ask for an interpreter in your language and then request to be connected to our information centre.