‘Outdoor trading’ is where businesses use footpaths and parking bays for dining and shopping. It plays a vital role in fostering a strong local economy and creating welcoming places for the community.

We are committed to helping shopping precincts to thrive, as highlighted in the Boroondara Community Plan 2021-31. Outdoor trading can help to create vibrant shopping strips, attract customers, support business growth and boost the chance of diners finding a seat when eating out.

We also need to ensure outdoor trading is done safely in our public spaces. It is a balance of needs and expectations for both businesses and customers, with safety being our priority.

This is why we’ve drafted new and updated outdoor trading guidelines and would like to hear your feedback.

Review our updated outdoor trading options and guidelines

Below are the outdoor trading opportunities and guidelines that we are seeking your feedback on. We invite you to read each of our draft guidelines to answer all the questions in the survey.

The guidelines aim to make it clear to businesses how to safely trade outdoors in shared public spaces. They have been developed for our local area and are based on relevant legislation, standards and local laws.

Also included are the steps of the permit application process. Our permit fees have been kept to a minimum to cover administration costs only, to support local businesses as they continue to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

People sitting in a streetside parklet area at cafe tables

Parklets

Parklets are parking bays repurposed for outdoor dining. They became popular during the pandemic lockdowns, as government grants to councils were used to assist businesses to continue trading.

Key points:

  • Clear guidelines for safe operation of parklets.
  • Introducing permits for seasonal or annual parklets with permit fees in line with current footpath trading fees.
  • Council will cover the entire costs for traffic management and safety to support parklet creation (following the end of Victorian Government funding).

Looking down on a suburban street that features a shopping strip

Footpath trading

Footpath trading is something we already have available to businesses. It is quite simply trading on the footpath. With this option, the business removes footpath trading items (furniture, displays, decoration, etc.) at the end of each day.

Key points:

  • Updated guidelines to replace our Commercial Street Furniture Guidelines, adding more options for footpath trading and the latest safety requirements (e.g. line of sight setback).
  • No increase in current permit fees.

A busy outdoor dining area with a roof over the seating and windows facing the street, and fairy lights over the footpath

Outdoor dining structures

This option builds on footpath trading - it’s a built structure typically used for dining and one that can be left out at the end of the day. These often feature awnings and a roof, creating a semi-enclosed space. The structures must be able to be removed when the permit expires.

Key points:

  • This is a new outdoor trading option, and the guidelines provide clear permit requirements.
  • Introducing the permit, with the fee in line with current footpath trading permit fees.

Policy for future possibilities

Our guiding principles for activating public footpaths and parking bays for commercial purposes are available in our draft Outdoor Trading Policy. This policy is the foundation for keeping the balance between:

  • supporting the local economy
  • safely and fairly using shared spaces.

We will consider the feedback you provide on the 3 draft guidelines above when we review this draft policy. The review will take place after this consultation has finished.