The City of Sydney is inviting public comment on new draft policies designed to improve the look and amenity of the city, including outdoor dining options in Martin Place.

Under the two new plans, restaurant diners visiting Martin Place could be able to enjoy their meal outdoors, albeit with strict conditions, between Pitt and George Streets.

The plans aim to enliven Martin Place and streets running into Alfred Street and Circular Quay, in preparation for the light rail, and cut red tape for foodservice operations wanting to offer outdoor dining but simplifying applications and extending licence periods.

The City of Sydney has been working closely with the RSL and other landowners to ensure the proposed changes don’t impact the site of the World War 1 memorial, the Cenotaph.

“The city’s continually improving Sydney’s streetscapes and with work about to begin on the light rail, it’s the right time to upgrade Martin Place and the streets running into Alfred Street at Circular Quay where the light rail ends,” said Lord Mayor, Clover Moore.

“The city’s undergoing a period of rapid change. As well as the light rail, the NSW government is planning to renew Circular Quay and there are many major private developments in the northern part of the city that are underway or in the wings.

“We want people to spend more time in Martin Place and, if it’s approved, this scheme will bring more trees and landscaping, more seating, and for the first time outdoor dining to this great city plaza,” she said.

Chairwoman of the Martin Place Owners Group, Andrea Roberts, said her members had helped the City of Sydney work on the plan and were excited about the changes it proposes.

“We would like to see Martin Place become a more enticing environment, one that attracts people day and night, encourages a 24/7 economy and re-enforces it as the civil and civic heart of this city, and this plan very much aligns with our vision,” she said.

The plans will be placed on exhibition for four weeks and public comments are invited.

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