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Armidale Mall the focus of an outdoor dining trial

Armidale Mall the focus of an outdoor dining trial

The Beardy Street Mall in Armidale will be the focus of an outdoor dining trial which will see the continuation of the Suspension of Section 2.5.2 of the Street Trading Activities Local Approvals Policy and suspend the Alcohol Free Zone for the purpose of the NSW Small Business Commissioner Outdoor Dining Trial.

Earlier this year Armidale Regional Council staff attended a workshop in Armidale held by the NSW Small Business Commissioner. The aim of the workshop was to discuss the development of an Outdoor Dining Trial within the Beardy Street Mall area, along with a number of other NSW Councils.

The program seeks to trial a number of measures in the Beardy Street Mall area to increase the opportunities for retail businesses to begin and/or develop outdoor dining. The program also seeks to reduce barriers to outdoor dining opportunities.

Currently across NSW, varying policies and inconsistencies between local Councils in relation to outdoor dining approvals cause difficulties for restaurant chains, franchises and other small businesses when operating in the outdoor dining retail food service sector. The process of approaching Council to gain outdoor dining approvals, and the associated rental cost of space is considered non conducive to good business and is hampering new first time businesses from entering this potential market and existing businesses from expanding.

Armidale Regional Council’s Service Leader Sustainability and Development Ambrose Hallman said the former Council had already implemented a number of measures to positively promote business opportunities within the Beardy Street Mall.

“The former Armidale Dumaresq Council resolved that all lease fees for outdoor dining areas be suspended including the need to gain approval, until a new Street Trading Policy could be adopted by the new Council.  The new Armidale Regional Council is committed to reducing red-tape, stimulating economic development in the outdoor dining area and creating a more liveable and vibrant city,” said Ambrose Hallman.

“This suspension is still operating today and subsequently drew the attention of the NSW Small Business Commissioner. This trial will complement a number of strategies targeted at promoting business and activity within the Beardy Street Mall.”

The NSW Small Business Commissioner proposes to pilot a streamlined approval process that could be rolled out across the state as a standardised process for all Council’s in NSW.

It is expected that the trial will commence towards the later part of the 2017 ending in early January 2018 with the proposed “Pilot Outdoor Dining Policy” that the Small Business Commissioner’s Office has developed. Council has resolved to ask for the trial to be extended to March 2018 to include all of the summer months. 

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