We have nearly 500 outdoor dining areas across the local area making our streets more vibrant and active places. Outdoor dining helps people enjoy Sydney's pleasant climate and views, and encourages locals to engage with neighbours and friends.
Public places that are highly accessible for all people are likely to be more pleasant and enjoyable, as well as safer. The City of Sydney wants to enhance urban life by promoting more outdoor dining.
To use the footpath as an outdoor dining area for your patrons, you need to apply for footway approval from the City.
How to apply
In all circumstances, you need to complete and submit a footway usage (outdoor dining) application (download below) to gain footway approval.
The outdoor café policy (download below) provides a guide to preparing your application. It also provides guidelines on setting up safe and unobtrusive outdoor furniture for your diners.
Owners consent is granted as part of the approval assessment process. However if there is any outstanding debt for previous footway usage, owners consent will be refused.
A development application (DA) will also need to be prepared and submitted, under the Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 if the outdoor dining area:
- is associated with a pub
- provides seating for more than 20 people
- is used before 7am or after 10pm.
Generally, applications to renew a footway approval will not need a DA. You should confirm the requirements with the City before submitting your renewal application.
If you must lodge a DA, go to the development Application guide for more information. We encourage you to submit both applications together to minimise the processing time.
Your application needs to be presented in hard copy (printed) and digital format, which must include:
- photos of the proposed area
- a site plan
- a plan of management (if alcohol will be served).
The site plan should be on A4-sized paper at an appropriate scale (1:100, 1:150 or 1:200 and so on). It should show the:
- width of the building
- location of building lines
- location of the kerb
- location of entrances, doors and street furniture*.
* includes park benches, bins, power and light poles, street sigjns, trees and so on.
The plan should also show dimensions, such as:
- width of the footpath to the building line
- length of the building frontage
- seating layout clearances to the kerb.
The plan needs to indicate the side boundaries, the address and name of the neighbouring businesses and your premises, and a diagram showing the position and name of the nearest cross streets.
It also needs to show the position of the seating area (including the dimensions), the proposed position of all equipment in this area including tables and chairs, umbrellas, heaters and screens. At the bottom of the plan, show the total area for outdoor seating and the total number of tables, chairs, umbrellas, heaters and so on.
If the seating area fronts the neighbouring property, dimensions accurately showing the seating in relation to the property next door must be shown.
A plan of management is required with your application if you intend to serve alcohol. The plan should detail how the dining area will be managed to ensure there is no adverse impact on the amenity of the neighbourhood covering:
- operating hours
- security measures
- crowd control
- noise control
- waste management.
Licensed premises will be subject to a trial period if your application is approved. An approval depends on the primary use of nearby premises such as restaurants, cafés, hotels or bars. The type of land where the outdoor dining is proposed is also considered in the approval process, including community land such as parks and public spaces owned and operated by the City.
Application and renewal costs
To renew an existing footway approval, you need to pay the $285 application fee. Go to Outdoor dining fees (below) for monthly fee amounts and security deposit information.
The costs to set up a footway usage (outdoor dining) approval depend on whether a DA is required or not. If a DA is required:
- $285 change of use DA fee (if there is not already a DA for the outdoor seating) or
- $285 footway application fee + $110 notification fee*.
If a DA is not required, the cost is $285 application fee + $110 notification fee*.
* If you're seeking to operate the outdoor dining area after 10pm, the notification fee is $830.
If your application is approved, please note you cannot commence operating your outdoor dining area until the first monthly payment and your security deposit has been paid to the City.
To end your footway approval, you must write to the City providing a 1 month notice period from the end of the billing cycle, which runs from the 1st to the last day of a calendar month (for example, from 1 October to 31 October).
Your written termination advice must include:
- name of your business
- applicant's name
- reason for termination
- preferred date to end the usage approval.
For your security deposit to be refunded, provide a forwarding address and telephone number, or if you would prefer direct credit, provide your bank account details with your termination notice. Please note: the bank account name must be the same as the name on the security deposit receipt.
If you sell your business your footway approval is not transferrable to the new owner. A new application will need to be lodged with the City for outdoor dining to continue on the premises.
For more information about the outdoor dining approval and application process, please contact Customer Service:
Tel: 02 9265 9333
You can also pick-up application forms at your nearest Neighbourhood Service Centre, where we will also be able to help with your enquiries.
Outdoor dining fees
To find out the zone where your business operates download (below) the map of outdoor seating zones.
The fees listed are determined by a unit measurement per square metre, per year. A security deposit of $500 or 3 months licence fee is also required, whichever is the greater amount.
|Outdoor seating zone||Fee|
|Zone 1: Circular Quay, city centre||$670|
|Zone 1A: Darlinghurst, Woolloomooloo, South Sydney (east)||$325|
|Zone 2: Pyrmont, Ultimo, Chippendale, King Street (Newtown), Glebe Point Road||$232.50|
|Zone 3: South Sydney (south)||$185|
|Zone 4: Glebe, Forest Lodge||$127.50|
|Zone 5: Regent Street, Redfern Street (Redfern)||$162.50|
|Zone 6: Darlinghurst Road, William Street||$240|
|Zone 6A: Oxford Street||$235|
|Zone 7: Various city centre laneways||$127.50|
The fees are applicable from 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2014 (GST inclusive).
Last updated: Friday, 24 May 2013