Councils encouraged to fast track alfresco dining approvals

Alfresco dining areas have been approved out the front of Sunset Room bar and restaurant and Sea Salt fish and chips shop in Market Street, Woolgoolga by Coffs Harbour City Council. Photo: Emma Darbin.


ALFRESCO dining areas for eateries along Market Street, Woolgoolga have recently been approved by Coffs Harbour City Council.

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Council approved the elevated dining area out the front of Sunset Room bar and restaurant and Sea Salt fish and chips shop, which will provide a level area outside these businesses for extended dining.

The works are estimated to cost less than $20,000.

The development application, which was submitted to Council by Sunset Room, was for elevated and partially enclosed alfresco dining areas in the road reserve at 4 Market Street.

The development will see the current undercover eating areas of both eateries extended forward towards the footpath, with the existing brick walls to be demolished, and the new alfresco dining areas to be bordered by railings.

As part of the development approval, the existing pedestrian pathway must not be blocked, and the alfresco dining areas must operate only during the hours of 9am to midnight Monday to Sunday.

The NSW Government is assisting local councils to approve more alfresco dining proposals through its ‘Making Outdoor Dining Approvals Easier 2020’ document.

The document encourages local councils to support local businesses to take advantage of outdoor dining or expand existing outdoor dining where appropriate, asks councils to identify areas within their towns, central to business districts where outdoor dining could occur or expand, and asks councils to examine how they can streamline outdoor dining area approvals while ensuring public amenity and safety.

“Approved food and beverage venues may want to extend their seating outside by using public spaces, walkways or parking bays,” the document states.

When News of The Area contacted Coffs Harbour City Council about the new initiative, Council stated that this approach was something Council had already been doing for the past two years through an initiative it developed in response to discussions with local businesses.

For further information about the Council initiative businesses can visit

A 12-month Statewide NSW Outdoor Dining trial of a streamlined application process for outdoor dining started in The Rocks on 16 October and a City of Sydney trial will start later this month, followed by a state-wide roll out of the trial in coming months.

All hospitality venues participating in the trial must have an updated COVID-19 Safety Plan.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is also proposing to amend the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP) to allow outdoor dining as exempt development for small bars and pubs in all NSW local government areas.

If approved, existing pubs and small bars will not have to submit a development application to council for outdoor dining, and will instead apply to council for an outdoor dining permit to use the footpath or public space.



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