Outdoor Dining

Woman sitting on table at restaurant outside

Outdoor dining areas make a significant contribution to the quality of public places and urban life. They contribute to active vibrant streets with opportunities for social interaction and leisure. Council actively encourages outdoor dining activity in suitable locations. 

The most common location for outdoor dining is on part of the public footpath outside restaurants, cafes, and other food premises. Proposals for outdoor dining activity can range from the placement of a few chairs and tables on the footpath to larger-scale outdoor dining areas that include fixed awnings and barriers and multiple tables and chairs. 

There are a number of safety, accessibility and amenity considerations with respect to outdoor dining. Council has various responsibilities to meet under legislation including:

  • Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 
  • Food Act 2003 
  • Local Government Act 1993 
  • Roads Act 1993

The Outdoor Dining Policy(PDF, 830KB) applies to outdoor dining on any public land in the City of Ryde that is owned or under the care, control and management of Council. In particular it applies to footpath areas adjacent to public roads situated within the town and neighbourhood centres in the City.  

The New NSW 'Alfresco Restart Package'

The NSW Government has recently released a raft of initiatives in an effort to support businesses and communities to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and promote outdoor activity post lockdown to help businesses operate under social distancing requirements in the public health orders. 

The new ‘Alfresco Restart Package’ includes changes to the planning rules to enable premises to implement outdoor dining as exempt development.

Exempt development means that the carrying out of the development does not require development consent under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979

There are development standards under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP), which need to be met in order for outdoor dining to be exempt development. 

The development standards for use of a footpath or public open space for outdoor dining are that approvals under s125 of the Roads Act 1993 and s68 of the Local Government Act 1993 must be granted and the use must be carried out in accordance with those approvals.  

Alfresco Dining Measures for Public and Private Land

(Hospitality Providers – Temporary measure from now till 30 June 2022): Under Clause 2.40C, 2.40D & 2.40E of the Codes SEPP

Outdoor dining gives people a way to reconnect and socialise and brings life to our streets and public spaces. It is not intended to increase the capacity of the dining establishment. 

Hospitality providers can provide alfresco dining as exempt development with the landowner’s consent (and subject to a permit if applicable under the Local Government Act 1993 and Roads Act 1993) as long as it is:

  • On an existing ground level
  • Is associated with existing approved lawful food and drink premises
  • Is not associated with a registered club
  • Does not contravene any condition of existing development consent (if applicable).

The standard application fees will apply. Should an application be successful, charges will apply for using Council-owned land and footpaths for outdoor dining. This contract is managed by Council’s Strategic Property Team. 

How to Apply to Use Council-Owned Land and Footpaths for Outdoor Dining

Complete the Footpath Activity Outdoor Dining Application form(PDF, 307KB) and return in the following ways:

  • Via email to: cityofryde@ryde.nsw.gov.au; or
  • Via post to: City of Ryde, Locked Bag 2069, North Ryde NSW 1670; or
  • In person to: City of Ryde Customer Service Centre, 1 Pope Street, Ryde NSW. Visit our Contact Us page for opening hours. 

Once a Council permit has been obtained (and if the venue is a licenced premises), applicants may have to apply to change their liquor licence boundary by completing form AM0521: Liquor licence temporary change of boundaries – footpaths and road, which can be obtained from Council. The completed form must be submitted to Council or Liquor and Gaming NSW directly with a copy of Council approval.

More Information

For any questions regarding the City of Ryde's Outdoor Dining approvals process please contact the City of Ryde on 9952 8222 or cityofryde@ryde.nsw.gov.au