An Open and Creative City: planning for culture and the night-time economy

An Open and Creative City: planning for culture and the night-time economy

Under review

Contributions to this consultation are closed for evaluation and review. The project team will report back on key outcomes.

From 25 October to 13 December 2017, we asked for your feedback on our discussion paper An Open and Creative City.

The proposals in the discussion paper included:

  • A diverse evening economy – allowing shops and businesses to extend trading hours in central Sydney and the village centres to between 7am and 10pm, 7 days a week without an additional approval.
  • More small-scale cultural uses – allowing small-scale cultural uses with minimal environmental impact to take place in existing buildings without an additional approval.
  • Fair management of entertainment noise – introducing the ‘agent of change’ principle which requires new developments to manage and respond to existing noise conditions in the neighbourhood.

During the consultation 1,303 online surveys were completed. 33 residents were randomly selected to participate in 2 community deliberative workshops on the proposals. We also hosted industry briefings and received written submissions from interested stakeholders.

Feedback included:

  • Strong support for cultural activities with minimal impacts, such as allowing a performance or public talk to take place without development consent. People said the rules around these activities need to be as flexible as possible, while taking into account potential noise impacts on local residents.
  • Strong support for shops and local businesses in established retail areas, such as Oxford Street and mixed use areas like Surry Hills, to be able to trade from 7am to 10pm, 7 days a week, without requiring additional development consent.
  • Strong support for a new approach to managing entertainment noise, based on the 'agent of change' principle, where new residential developments near existing entertainment venues would need to be designed and built to manage the noise of the existing venue. People said this approach would better balance the rights and responsibilities of both venues and residents.

You can read more about the consultation results:

City staff are considering the responses from the consultation and undertaking further work and consultation with key stakeholders to prepare changes to the planning controls.

A planning proposal will be reported to Council in mid-2020. The proposal will be placed on public exhibition and you will be invited to review our updated proposals and give your feedback.

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More information about the proposals

The proposals being considered have been developed from actions in the City's OPEN Sydney strategy and action plan, Creative City cultural policy and action plan and live music and performance action plan.

Making it easier for small businesses to trade later

Allowing shops and local businesses in areas with an established retail character to extend their trading hours from 7am to 10pm 7 days a week, without new development consent.

This would apply to main streets in Newtown, Glebe, Pyrmont, Darlinghurst, Potts Point, Surry Hills, Redfern, Waterloo and the city centre. It would include shops and businesses such as grocery stores, clothing stores, bookshops, pharmacies, hardware stores, hairdressers, dry cleaners, travel agents and banks. Food and drink premises such as restaurants and cafes will still need approval.

To encourage retailers to extend their trading hours, the City is proposing to offer grants to help businesses program retail experiences, as well as destination marketing support.

Encouraging small-scale cultural events and activities across the city

Allowing cultural offerings with minimal impacts, such as a shop hosting an art exhibition or public talk, to take place without development consent. See map for exempt development: small-scale cultural uses.

Criteria such as location, hours of operation and capacity would be put in place to guide those activities falling into this category, and those requiring development consent.

To support operators seeking to establish new cultural spaces the City would also develop new specialised planning controls and offer enhanced planning guidance and advice.

Balancing live music and performance venue impacts

Applying the 'agent of change' principle to managing noise impacts.

Under this system, which is already used in cities such as Melbourne and San Francisco, new residential development near existing entertainment venues would be required to implement measures to manage noise impacts from venues. Similarly, new entertainment venues would be required to ensure existing residential properties are not impacted from noise.

The agent of change system would be accompanied by new planning controls and transparent, easy to understand noise compliance guidelines for venues. This will change how the city manages entertainment noise.


Jen Guice
Senior Project Manager, Community Consultation

02 9265 9333

Maria Pavlides
Senior Project Manager, Community Engagement

02 9265 9333


Last updated: Thursday, 18 June 2020