More than 70 per cent of community submissions received as part of a recent public exhibition have indicated strong support for a controlled trial to extend trading hours for select restaurants and small bars in Newcastle.
Council voted unanimously last month to support a trial to extend the trading hours of restaurants in the city until midnight and to 2am for small bars, as first proposed in the City of Newcastle’s After Dark Strategy, also unanimously adopted in 2018.
At tonight’s Council meeting, Councillors voted to endorse the extension of the trial from six months to 12 months.
The community was given the opportunity during September to comment on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s proposed amendment to the Newcastle Local Environment Plan to facilitate the easing of restrictions. A total of 142 submissions were received, with 72%in support of the trial.
Twenty-four small bars and restaurants have opted into the trial as part of efforts to grow the night-time economy and support the hospitality industry’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19 related restrictions.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said community feedback is an important component of the Night Time Economy trial and that the weight of the positive submissions reflects majority community support for the trial.
“This strong feedback demonstrates there is an appetite for more diverse offerings in Newcastle when the sun goes down. Our City’s night time economy has enormous potential to grow.
“Our community values the benefits of thriving nightlife, and that is a more vibrant city with increased access to businesses, jobs, services and entertainment.
“Research has also shown that encouraging a range of experiences with a wider cohort of visitors, makes for a safer city at night.
“The intention of this trial is to revitalise the City’s economy and support a local industry that employs 13,280 people and generates more than $1.5 billion each year in economic activity.
“City of Newcastle’s After Dark Strategy guides the development of a safe, diverse and vibrant night-time economy and the trial is one of its recommendations.”
Examples of low impact venues identified in the Newcastle After Dark – Night Time Economy Strategy include small bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, galleries, microbreweries and comedy clubs.
A summary statement prepared by CN addressing the key issues raised in the Department of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure exhibition period was received by Council tonight.