Permanent Outdoor Dining
The planning rules allow food and drink premises, including pubs and small bars, to permanently have outdoor dining on the footpath as exempt development.
This means hospitality businesses can apply to the council to use the footpath and public spaces to serve diners without needing a separate development application. Instead, councils issue approvals under the Local Government Act or Roads Act.
Applying for an Outdoor Dining Approval
Participating councils can accept online lodgement for outdoor dining applications via the e-Planning platform. Participating councils need to be onboarded to this e-Planning function. Or, contact your local council for details of their application process.
Online application for approvals under Sections 125 and 138 of the NSW Roads Act 1993 (Roads Act) and Section 68 of the NSW Local Government Act 1993 (Local Government Act) can be made via the NSW Planning Portal. Most applications come in under the Roads Act.
Depending on the location of the site, the following approvals may be required:
- Section 125 of the Roads Act approval is required if you are requesting a footway to be used for outdoor dining
- Section 138 of the Roads Act approval is required for any site where council is not the consent authority
- Section 68 of the Local Government Act approval will be required if you are requesting to engage in a trade or business on community land.
Councils adopting the online services will be able to use the digital service to refer applications to Liquor & Gaming NSW, Roads and Maritime Service and NSW Police where necessary.
The Office of Local Government published the Streamlined Outdoor Dining Guide to support councils with the outdoor dining approval process. The guide steps out the process for councils to follow and explains how council can issue an online outdoor dining permit.
Temporary outdoor dining measures
Outdoor dining has been popular with customers, councils and businesses. We are extending the temporary outdoor dining rules until 31 December 2023 to encourage more outdoor dining and to give businesses longer to seek permanent approval. These temporary measures apply to outdoor dining on public and private land – which includes parks, registered clubs and open spaces.
Hospitality providers can continue to setup outdoor dining as exempt development, with council or landowner’s consent.
Licensed premises must apply to Liquor and Gaming NSW to have their liquor license boundary temporarily extended to include the new outdoor space. In addition, licensed venues will now be able to apply via a fast-track process to make their temporary boundary approval permanent. Further details are provided on the Liquor & Gaming NSW website.
- existing food and drink premises can use adjacent sites with landowner’s consent, such as carparks or open space to serve food and drinks.
- councils can setup popup outdoor venues to serve food and drinks on public land.
- registered clubs can temporarily repurpose their outdoor spaces such as car parks and bowling greens to serve food and drinks.
To find out more about the changes to the Codes SEPP visit our website.
Image courtesy of Destination NSW
How to Apply Online
Please visit the following pages to see if your council is using the services and for directions on how to apply via the NSW Planning Portal.
- Section 125 of the Roads Act 1993
- Section 138 of the Roads Act 1993
- Section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993
Business owners wanting to apply for an outdoor dining permit in local government areas where an online service hasn’t been adopted should contact their local council directly or visit the NSW Government website page for Outdoor Dining.