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 outdoor dining approval from the City.
How to apply
All outdoor dining areas require an outdoor dining approval.
The outdoor dining policy and guidelines provide a guide to preparing your application and setting up safe and unobtrusive outdoor furniture for your diners.
Owners consent from the City to use the footpath is granted as part of approval process. However if there is any outstanding debt for previous outdoor dining, owners consent will be refused.
If the outdoor dining area is associated with a pub or small bar, development consent is required under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
If you require development consent, 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 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:
- name and address of your premises and the neighbouring businesses
- name and position of the nearest cross streets
- position of the side boundaries of your premises
- width of the building frontage of your premises
- location of building edges
- location of the kerb
- location of entrances, doors and street furniture*.
* includes park benches, bins, power and light poles, street signs, trees and so on.
The plan should also show:
- position and dimensions of the seating area
- width of the footpath to the building edge
- clearances between the seating area and the kerb
- location of equipment such as umbrellas, heaters, and the like
- total area for outdoor dining in square metres.
Notification of outdoor dining applications
Some outdoor dining applications need to be notified to allow for public consultation. Applications that need notification are described below.
In Central Sydney*
- applications for an outdoor dining area greater than 20 square metres.
Outside Central Sydney
- applications for an outdoor dining area greater than 10 square metres, or
- applications for outdoor dining areas operating before 7am, or
- applications for outdoor dining areas operating after 10pm.
*A map of Central Sydney is in the guidelines.
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 outdoor dining approval, you need to pay the $260 application fee. Go to outdoor dining fees (below) for monthly fee amounts and security deposit information.
The costs to set up an 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) and
- $260 footway application fee + $100 notification fee*
- extension of an existing approved outdoor dining area, for a trial period (up to 12 months) by resolution of Council
- planning, assessment, notification, footway usage rental (for extended area only) and administration fees: $0 per application.
If a DA is not required, the cost is $260 application fee + $100 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 outdoor dining 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 outdoor dining 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.
The new application will not need to be notified for public exhibition as long as there are no changes to the hours of operation and the size of the outdoor dining area.
For more information about the outdoor dining approval and application process, please contact Customer Service:
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||$640|
|Zone 1A: Darlinghurst, Woolloomooloo, South Sydney (east)||$315|
|Zone 2: Pyrmont, Ultimo, Chippendale, King Street (Newtown), Glebe Point Road||$225|
|Zone 3: South Sydney (south)||$175|
|Zone 4: Glebe, Forest Lodge||$125|
|Zone 5: Regent Street, Redfern Street (Redfern)||$155|
|Zone 6: Darlinghurst Road, William Street||$230|
|Zone 6A: Oxford Street||$225|
|Zone 7: Various city centre laneways||$125|
|Zone 8: Light Rail zone||NIL|
The fees are applicable from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017 (GST inclusive).
|*Application for outdoor dining on public land||PDF 128.6 KB||Download|
|Outdoor dining guidelines||PDF 3.7 MB||Download|
|Outdoor dining policy||PDF 333.8 KB||Download|
|Outdoor dining policy||Word 537.9 KB||Download|
|Outdoor dining action plan||PDF 165.2 KB||Download|
|Outdoor dining action plan||Word 492.5 KB||Download|
|Outdoor seating zones||PDF 403.7 KB||Download|
|Sample plan||PDF 54.3 KB||Download|
Last updated: Monday, 6 March 2017