In 2014 the NSW state government effectively declared Oxford Street an entertainment precinct by including the area under the PLAN OF MANAGEMENT FOR THE SYDNEY CBD ENTERTAINMENT PRECINCT, commonly known as the lockout laws. Unfortunately this is far too limited in scope, in that
- It does not recognise that the night time economy is simply one rhythm of the 24-hour-city cycle, on that is intimately linked to the day time economy; as the results of our 'lockout survey' show.
- It is administered solely through the department of Liquor and Gaming when there are clearly so many transport and planning issues.
- The responsibility for the 'night time economy' seems to have been placed on the shoulders of licensed venues.
- Darlinghurst, while culturally, geographically and demographically distinct from the CBD, is unceremoniously lumped in with it.
This is no way to manage precincts, in fact it is merely a containment policy.
We call on the State government to completely rethink how to manage and nurture their 'entertainment' precincts.
This can be achieved by re-imagining the 'lockout laws' as a 'Arts, Culture & Innovation Policy'predicated on the rhythms of a 24 hour global economy: one that explicitly recognises the economic and cultural value of arts and culture to the city and one that sets out to balance the needs of residents, businesses and visitors.
Such a policy should apply to all urban areas, state-wide, where the complimentary and competing needs of all stakeholders need to be addressed. Ideas for the a policy would include, but not be limited to ...
- Mandatory soundproofing and insulation on all new residential development (state-wide, duh)
- Agent of Change laws coupled with quotas for entertainment and community space to prevent gentrification feedback loops.
- For example, if 20k residents and 3k entertainment capacity works and is manageable for the precinct, then if more residential is added mechanisms should be put in place to increase the entertainment capacity.
- Mandatory levels of low-rent creative space and affordable housing in the area.
And in the case of Darlinghurst ...
- Infrastructure upgrades including those pictured above in Taylor Square.
- Open forecourt of the Courts by removing the fence
- Resumption of the courts as a public and commercial space
- Redesign Taylor Square south so it is no longer a pigeon shower
- Removal of bus lanes and clearways
- Encouraging out-door dining with free- trial periods, or free permits.
Sharing a common belief in these ideasl, the Darlinghurst Busienss Partnership has partnered with Potts Point Partnership and Surry Hills Creative Precinct groups on the #EastsideSydney Destination Marketing Strategy (full document available to members).