Approvals for Outdoor Dining & Trading made quicker and easier for Bellingen Businesses

outdoor cafe

Did you know an approval is required for all structures placed on public footpaths, including A-frame signs, goods displays and café furniture?

To encourage businesses to use the footpath outside their shopfront (where space allows), Bellingen Council has changed planning controls, simplified the application process, committed to quicker approval turn-around times and waived all application fees for a period of six (6) months.

The six month fee-free period will run until 24 May 2018, and businesses are urged to get their applications in quickly to take advantage of this offer. The Planning Amendment to facilitate this new process was finalised by the State Government on 24 November 2017.

Council’s Deputy General Manager Operations, Matt Fanning said, “Bellingen Council adopted a new Footpath Activities Policy which provides a set of simple requirements for businesses trading on the footpath in September 2017. This policy was refined after consultation with the community and local businesses in July this year.”

“The new policy aims to encourage footpath activities which add to the liveliness and character of our town centres whilst providing enough footpath space for people to move through safely and comfortably. A key focus of the policy is to make sure an unobstructed corridor of at least 1.8m wide is provided to allow for pedestrians to access shops and services. Consistently keeping a movement corridor clear of structures benefits all pedestrians and customers, but especially people with a disability, parents with prams and older people.”

“Council has a target approval timeframe of 14 business days from a Footpath Activity Application being lodged (except for applications on the Waterfall Way which also require consent from the Roads and Maritime Services). Once issued, a Footpath Activity Approval will last for two (2) years before requiring renewal”, added Mr Fanning.

Further information on the new policy and approvals process, including application forms and FAQs can be found at