Darby Street outdoor dining transformation begins

29 Sept 2022

Newcastle's renowned "eat street" precinct on Darby Street in Cooks Hill will come alive as part of a six-month trial with extended outdoor dining facilities, community focused events and improved pedestrian and cycling infrastructure under the Streets as Shared Spaces initiative.

The start of Darby Street’s transformation was officially launched today by Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen.

The trial will calm traffic and bring diners out onto the street as the extended footpath dining areas commence.

Newcastle ord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Darby Street trial is part of the Streets as Shared Spaces initiative and aims to test and build innovative ideas that attract people back into public spaces, in a safer way.

“Novocastrians are changing the way they explore and connect. Residents are walking and cycling more, and this means that we need to have a larger focus on providing spaces that are safe, green, welcoming, and accessible,” Cr Nelmes said.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the temporary nature of the works allowed the City of Newcastle to trial these pilot projects with the support and feedback from the community and local businesses.

“By implementing this trial, we hope to gain valuable insights that will allow us to plan for long-term positive change across the City’s Local Centres Renewal Program which delivers attractive, vibrant, and healthy open spaces.”

A large 120m2 temporary dining platform, built using recycled materials, has been placed over several car parks between the Sanctum and Goldbergs restaurants. The new dining platform allows businesses to more than double their outdoor dining space and frees up the footpath for pedestrians, providing an immediate boost to local cafes and restaurants.

Further along Darby Street, a new pedestrian crossing safely leads visitors to the re-energised Darby Headphones Courtyard. New street furniture, lighting, surfacing, and public art in the courtyard encourages people to visit, stay and connect.

A condition of the NSW Government grant required Darby St speed to be reduced. Transport for NSW have approved a temporary 30km/hr speed reduction for approximately 400 metres of Darby St, between the Newcastle Art Gallery and 188 Darby St.

Co-Owner of Three Monkeys café on Darby Street, Anthony Strachan said he is hopeful the trial will draw more people to the precinct and help showcase all that Darby Street has to offer.

“The last couple of years have been extremely challenging for all small businesses. We are already seeing people come back into the city and we are hoping this trial will lead to more excitement and an enhanced Darby Street experience,” Mr Strachan said.

To assist with availability of short-term free parking in the area, temporary drop off and pick up zones will be installed near to Council Street and car parking spaces to the rear of the Newcastle Library will be converted to 2P free spaces for the duration of the trial, offsetting carparks impacted by the temporary dining platform.

The trial will celebrate Darby Street's link to culture, art, music and food through a series of events including, temporary pavement murals and a pavement art competition by Chalk the Walk as part of the New Annual Festival and a free day of activities at the Darby Street, Street Party on the corner of Council Street, Saturday 15 October 2022.

More details on the Darby Street, Streets as Shared Spaces trial events can be found at whatson.newcastle.nsw.gov.au

The trial has been made possible with a $500,000 grant from the NSW Government through the Streets as Shared Spaces program (Round 2) and funding from the City of Newcastle Urban Centres Revitalisation Program.