Cafe scene: Lismore’s Magellan Street, which already has some outdoor dining areas, is destined to become the CBD’s new ‘Eat Street’ under a draft outdoor dining policy being considered the Lismore City Council.
Cafe scene: Lismore’s Magellan Street, which already has some outdoor dining areas, is destined to become the CBD’s new ‘Eat Street’ under a draft outdoor dining policy being considered the Lismore City Council.

Lismore street to rival the best

LISMORE’S Magellan Street may one day rival Melbourne’s Lygon Street or Sydney’s Norton Street as a ‘must-do’ eating experience if the Lismore City Council’s new draft outdoor dining policy wins public favour.

Eighteen months in the making, the policy turns Lismore’s previous attitude to outdoor and after-hours dining on its head and encourages restaurants and cafes to move on to the city’s streets and laneways.

“One of the objectives (of the draft policy) is to get rid of some of the red tape,” the council’s manager of assets, Scott Turner, said.

“There have been issues in the past with some outdoor dining areas that have been seen as a disincentive, so we have tried to simplify things and put incentives in place.”

Under the policy, which will go on public display next week, Magellan Street, with its wide footpaths, will be designated Lismore’s official ‘Eat Street’.

To encourage food retailers on the strip, the council proposes to scrap the costly Section 94 charges that are associated with off-street parking.

In addition, a flat licensing fee will be charged for all outdoor dining business anywhere in the CBD at $50 per metre.

This is a reduction of between 10 and 15 per cent, and will be waived for the first two years to allow businesses the time needed to get up and running.

Loft restaurant owner Kieran Brett hailed the policy as a long overdue shift in the council’s thinking.

“Their attitude has changed dramatically and they are listening and helping businesses,” he said.

“The two-year waiver will give businesses, which have to pay for new tables and chairs, a bit of leeway and make it do-able.”

In another first for Lismore,after-hours licences will be permitted, allowing businesses to move into laneways at night.

Ros Diskin headed the council’s review of its existing policy, which has not changed substantially since 1994.

She recently organised a ‘world café’, or roundtable, of businesses to gauge their opinion of the policy.

“Businesses told us they where frustrated with the old policy,” Ms Diskin said.

“The new policy has been welcomed so far because it addresses equity between food business in the CBD, accessibility and flexibility, which makes it appealing.”

Smoking is banned under the new draft policy and alcohol is only permitted if it is served with food and the outlet has obtained a liquor licence.

However, this may change in line with a new State Government law allowing the establishment of wine bars where the serving of food is not required.

The new draft policy flows from the council’s Lismore Alive project that was completed in May last year and aims to bring greater vibrancy and visitors to the CBD.

Under the proposed conditions,tables must not be placed within two metres of shopfronts to ensure pedestrians aren’t hindered.

Also, stringent conditions will be imposed by the council on portable signs to make sure signage is consistent and once again does not interfere with pedestrians.

If approved by council on Tuesday night, the draft policy will go on public display for 28 days, with the final vote in September.



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