Dining code changed to allow greater flexibility

THE City of Greater Bendigo has changed its outdoor dining code to allow for greater flexibility, following heated debate this year regarding an outdoor barrier at Masons of Bendigo.

Councillors unanimously supported the revised Outdoor Dining and Street Trading Code of Practice, which increases the maximum height of outdoor dining barriers. 

This will allow Masons to reinstate its popular black picket fence, which was removed following council orders in March this year.

It will also open up greater options for outdoor dining at Hargreaves Mall.
Councillor James Williams said the city would benefit from the new code.
"We will be able to take outdoor dining to another level while maintaining the ambiance," he said.

Cr Rod Campbell said it was a clear case of listening to the community, with Cr Rod Fyffe agreeing it was a sensible compromise.

The report also includes amendments to umbrellas, blinds and weather treatments, display of goods, advertising, furniture supply and busking.

Planning and development director Prue Mansfield said the recommendations were designed to introduce flexibility and innovation into the code's design. 

"(Council) wants to work with businesses to create a diverse, strong and growing economy that entices people to live in and visit our region," she said. 

“The recommendations set design standards that aim to encourage vibrant, active and colourful street frontages, so it is important to ensure any changes can support this ideal.

“Businesses advised (council) officers that outdoor dining creates an attractive atmosphere that encourages people to come into their businesses.

"However the ability to draw the public in must be done so in a way that balances business needs with public space usage in a safe and responsible manner.

Ms Mansfield said outdoor dining permits issued to CBD businesses had more than tripled from 21 to 69 since 2001 and this was another reason for the assessment. 

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