Change In Law Sets Leichhardt Up As The Go-To Suburb For New Bars

14 October 2015 | 3:21 pm | Staff Writer

Big news for small bars.

The Leichhardt Council in Sydney has adopted new changes to make it easier and cheaper to open bars in the inner west, in an attempt to boost activity and nightlife in the suburb's main streets. 

The new changes may see parking levies of up to $30,000 eliminated for new bar operators in areas designated as 'recognised shopping precincts' and new development projects streamlined. 

Commenting on the new changes, Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne said, "Small bars can help to bring our streets alive at night and boost our local economy."

"Small bars typically attract patrons who are interested in a smaller, more intimate setting and often are visited as part of a journey - like visiting a small bar, cinema and restaurant in the same night."

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Byrne said promoting new bars in existing shopping corridors can "create a precinct destination rather than a single venue like a large pub or club."

“As more small bars open, we will see a boost to tourism and spending in our local economy as well as more opportunities for local live music, arts and culture," he said. 

Pending approval by the NSW Planning Department, the policy changes include: 

  • Simplifying the development application process for small bars.
  • Removing the requirement for small bars to provide off-street car parking in recognised shopping streets.
  • Making it easier for restaurants and cafes to convert to small bars without the need for Council approval.
  • Reinforcing business activity in the main streets.

The Council are also set to meet with cafe and restaurant owners, as well as potential small bar owners to discuss how they can use the new system.