So you’ve decided its time to install or expand on the outdoor dining space at your café, bar, restaurant, or venue. Now what?
The first step is to speak with your local council about what they will (or wont) allow you to install. As we have come to realise over the past year or so since outdoor dining has become a more prominent feature of the hospitality landscape, is that each council has their own rules and preferences in place. From the application process through to design guidelines, safety audits and requirements, associated fees and permits and how long your parklet will be permitted to remain installed, it differs across every local municipality. Below we break down some of the main points that have been put forward from some of our metro and inner regional council areas, and while it is still early days before we begin to emerge from lockdown, we have no doubt that many other councils will get on board to bring parklets and outdoor dining to life for local businesses.
Application process & permits
City of Stonningtons roadside dining program is set to return in line with the re-opening of Victoria. They are offering both a Summer Roadside Dining permit to establish a parklet for 6 months and also a 365 Roadside Dining permit to establish a year-round parklet, with a renewed application being required each year. To be eligible for the parklet program, you need access to at least one car park space, or roadway with an intermittent closure, out the front or side of your business. Neighbouring car spaces may also be applied for occupancy but will require neighbour consent. Your business must also operate for a minimum of 5 days a week.
The City of Yarra Parklet Program allows eligible hospitality businesses to offer outdoor dining in on-street car parking bays directly outside of their business, or the neighbouring business with permission. The City of Yarra has put a huge amount of detail into their parklet program and are suggesting all applicants first submit a parklet enquiry to ensure they are eligible to have a parklet installed.
Over in the Wyndham City Council, businesses are being urged to fully utilise footpath space, including neighbouring properties if available before applying for the use of public space, such as streets, car parks and open space in town centres and shopping centres. A similar scenario is put forward for consideration in The City of Darebin, which are currently reviewing their parklet program.
Anyone in the Moreland community can host a Parklet. This site needs to be located on a Council owned road, signed less than 50km/hr.
In the Mornington Shire, you will need to provide a completed application form, found on their website. Businesses can apply to use one of, or a combination of extra footpath, parking or street space for outdoor dining, takeaway, and retail.
Recently, The City of Yarra made the headlines on their decision to introduce fees to local businesses utilising the program, it is important to note that parklet fees have had a 25% discount and 5-month waiver applied, meaning local businesses have 5 whole months to utilise these spaces with the support of the City of Yarra Council, with only the reduced annual permit fee coming into effect in November.
Businesses in the City of Melbourne will have parklet fees waived until late March 2022. They’ll then be gradually increased in 2023. The City of Stonington’s roadside dining program will support local businesses this summer by waiving associated fees until 30 April 2022.
Each Council has their own design guidelines, some of which are firmer than others. Of the most part, ensuring you use materials that will suit the elements in which they are intended to be used (in this case outdoors) is the main requirement, followed closely by sustainable, recyclable, durable or locally sourced materials. Staying within the guidelines given by your local council is going to give you a streamlined process. Although some councils are happy for you to move outside of these guidelines, with the understanding that further safety audits and costs may be included.
The Moreland Council is requesting that a full site plan needs to be submitted with the parklet proposal application, that the structure can be easily removed if required and that the adjacent footpath sits flush with the parklet, while The Yarra City Council is really aiming to bring as much greenery to the area as possible.
Licensing and Insurance Coverage.
The rules around liquor licencing does not change, and it is best to visit the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation for further information on temporary or extending licences for external areas.
Most councils are also requesting proof of a $10,000,000 - $ $20,000,000 public liability insurance.
We are more than happy to assist you and work with your local council to get your application submitted and approved as quickly and easily as possible.
To find out more about the council requirements listed here today, follow the below corresponding link
Or, you can find your local council here