We all know that the Sydney lockout laws were introduced by the Government of NSW in 2014 with the objective to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence.
The legislation requires 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks at bars, pubs and clubs in the Sydney CBD entertainment precinct.
But did you know that since this time, pedestrian traffic has dropped by 40% in Kings Cross, falling from a Saturday peak of 5,590 per hour between 1am- 2am in 2010, to a Saturday peak of 3,888 between 12am - 1am in 2015.
According to data from Liquor & Gaming NSW, 418 licensed premises in Kings cross and CBD have closed since 2014, 242 new licenses – net loss of 176 venues and a 19% revenue loss for clubs.
With reduced foot traffic, mass venue closures, high vacancy rates and challenging head winds, the retail sector is currently experiencing an upheaval as owners are now forced to look for alternative options to generate income.
The saving grace is yet to come for owners, tenants and consumers with the CBD and city fringe area having five key changes proposed to the late-night trading planning controls:
- A 24-hour city centre – extend the late night management area along George Street across the city centre and increase maximum trading hours from 5am to up to 24 hours.
- Increase hours for low impact venues in local centres – align the controls with NSW Government rules and allow lower impact venues, including small bars, to trade until 2am.
- New areas for new communities – identify late-night trading areas in suitable urban renewal precincts. These include Barangaroo, Walsh Bay, Green Square town centre, Danks Street, East Village shopping centre and an arts focused industrial heritage warehouse area in Alexandria.
- Extend existing areas – recognise venues in Chippendale, Redfern, Surry Hills and Lankelly Place in Potts Point, which have emerged since the planning controls were reviewed in 2007.
- Encourage performance, culture and unlicensed businesses:
a. Allow unlicensed shops and business, such as bookshops, clothing stores, drycleaners and hairdressers to trade up to 24 hours in city living or late night management areas and up to 2am in local centres.
b. Describe dedicated performance venues, such as theatres, concert halls and cinemas with up to 250 patrons, as lower risk premises and allow these venues an additional trading hour at closing time.
c. Allow venues that host performances one additional trading hour at closing time on the night of the performance.
We all know something has to change to help these areas continue to evolve, so hopefully these proposed changes happen sooner rather than later…