City News

Living dead in Green Square

The Dock small bar is a big part of change in Redfern Photo: Jed Clarke

By Rickie Hardiman

More than 10,000 people have recently given the City of Sydney their feedback on where and when they would like to see late-night trading take place.

There was strong support for trading hours across the city to increase more late-night trading areas in growing precincts like Green Square and more diverse late-night businesses like restaurants, shops, performance spaces and small bars.

A major part of the City’s role in Green Square has been planning controls which seek to provide housing and workplaces for a growing population while ensuring development is sustainable, innovative and respectful of existing neighbourhoods.

A City of Sydney spokesperson said: “The City of Sydney is reviewing the planning controls that determine the locations and trading hours of night-time premises. “

For the first time in over 100 years, the City of Sydney is building a new town centre in Green Square for high density residential use with apartment blocks rising above existing warehouse spaces.

Essentially, noise control will become an important issue for these new residential areas.

Census figures show that there are close to 25,000 residents living within this precinct and they need night time activities within their residential areas without having to travel for their entertainment and night-time experiences.

Many residents of this village tend to be young working-age professionals.

South Sydney Business Chamber President, Mary Lynne Pidcock, said: “They work on global hours not nine to five, so it’s essential that they can have access to all sorts of facilities and services day and night as we move into the further development of Green Square.”

Over the next few years there will be over 60,000 living in Green Square, and the City of Sydney is investing in social infrastructure, a swimming pool, a library, leisure centre, but there is no provision for entertainment.

Jed Clarke owner of The Dock, a small bar In nearby Redfern said: “The area is moving and has moved in the last seven years. I got here in November, 2010 when it was roller-door city.”

“Back then the streets were dimly lit and past 6pm it was quite frightening to walk down long streets.”

“Now there’s places open, restaurants and bars with people walking on the street, and having people around is always safer.”

“Then midnight rolls around and obviously we’ve all got to close,” Jed Clarke said.

Clove Moore said: “The night-time economy is critical to Sydney’s future, so it’s essential we get the balance right and make sure our planning controls keep pace with the city as it changes and grows”.

Moore Park Gardens, on the site of the old Resch’s brewery, is a recent community situated in Redfern that has 503 residential apartments with a village like atmosphere managed by Shearer Property.

The Moore Park Gardens website boasts that the complex has a deli, child care centre, gym, 25m lap pool and a boutique bottle shop, but nowhere to drink except at home.

Sue Shearer, director Shearer Property said: “No they don’t have a pub or bar, it is purely residential. There is a restaurant here, but he doesn’t open every night, just a little café, it is actually a residential complex.”

When asked would she like to have a bar or some sort of nightlife there for residents, Sue Shearer said: “It is a strata complex, so that would have to be something that the owners corporation and the owners would all have to agree on and then it gets down to licensing”.

Mary Lynne Pidcock, President of the South Sydney Business Chamber, said: “Nightlife is absolutely essential to any global city and the extent to which we can progress the changes to the law that are necessary, the better it will be.”

“I couldn’t speak strongly enough about the need to have a night-time economy for the young entrepreneurial, professional, people who are living in those new area,” Ms Piddock added.

When asked what time he would like his bar license extended to, Jed Clarke, said: “I’m part of the Small Bar Association and from the discussions we’ve had we’re all very happy with two am.”

“We’ve noticed over the years it’s what our customers want because a lot of them are local,” Jed added.

“They are not ready to go home at midnight and they don’t want to travel to a whole other suburb to continue their night for just a couple more hours.”

With both Green Park and Moore Park Gardens it appears that any future inclusion of night life facilities will be problematic as they were never planned for and it is easier to just say ‘no’, despite the positive spin by the City of Sydney on its efforts to reinvigorate nightlife in its precincts.

Thanks to pioneer venue owners such as Jed Clarke the future and variety of nightlife in Redfern seems to be assured to have some swing left in it.

As for the 60,000 new residents of Green Square, that could be a dry argument.

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