Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Local retail and hospitality businesses in dispute over use of parking for outdoor dining

Mark Fletcher
September 28th, 2020 · 2 Comments

There is a fight brewing in some towns between cafe and restaurant owners and retailers. The fight is over car parks and the proposal that they be used for outdoor dining. It is pitting business owner against business owners.

Local councils and tourism bodies appear to preference the re-purposing of car parks for dining, impacting accessibility for nearby retail businesses.

I am aware of a situation where the plan is to remove all street car parking in front of one newsagency and several shops so that a cafe located behind can serve meals and coffee on the street.

I am aware of another situation where a florist business that depends on the three car parks in front of their business for easy customer pick up is set to lose them for a cafe outdoor dining area.

While meetings have been held, there currently appears to be no easy solution.

While, for sure, hospitality businesses have done it tough through Corona, harming the prospects of other businesses solely for the benefit of hospitality businesses does not appear to be fair with those impacted businesses set to lose revenue.

This is an issue that requires thoughtful engagement by the business owners, local councils and other bodies that have a stake in resolution.

I don’t know what the answer is, I do winder if one solution could be to reconsider how the cafe indoor space could be adjusted to make it safer and therefore reduce the reliance of such businesses on car parks for outdoor space.

Further, thinking about some regional towns, there are areas of beautification on the Main Street – large median strips, garden areas with benches and more – that could be replaced with outdoor dining options and thereby reducing the impact on car parking.

Local high street retail relies on ease of access by car. Newsagents have seen the value of this especially since March this year. Top reduce or remove this amenity could negatively impact those retail businesses.

I urge any newsagent who may be impacted to actively engage with council and other bodies involved in decision making. Ensure that your voice is heard and that the possible impacts to your business are understood.

With many of these decisions being considered for weeks and even months out, now is the time to engage on this if it looks like you could be impacted.


Category: Social responsibility

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Graeme Day // Sep 28, 2020 at 7:26 AM

    Could be typical Council greed with some cases noted here. it looks like Council is more iterested in the fees paid by the cafe owner for the parking spots rather than the service offered by the newsagency and the other trading entities.
    I wonder how the “essential services” label could help this newsagent you mention in allowing their space to remain, even if only for a 15 min in out take.
    The cafe wouldn’t be able to operate for health reasons if the parking is too close to the alfresco set up.


  • 2 PJ // Sep 28, 2020 at 10:43 AM

    Make sure landlords know about it, commercial properties can tend to have absentee landlords. Any reduction in parking tends to drop the value of commercial property, especially retail. Ultimately they pay the rates and council may listen to them.


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