The Town of Cambridge is engaging with businesses and the community in the development of a Parklet Policy. Parklets are small public spaces that convert parking bays into spaces for people to gather.
Parklets may be owned by the Town for use by the general public or owned by existing food and beverage businesses for use by their customers.
Parklets activate streets, support a vibrant local economy and contribute to the character, safety and walkability of our Town centres.
The Parklet Policy Project includes the development of a Policy that will provide guidance to local businesses on the types, forms and location of parklets that would be supported by the Town of Cambridge.
The Policy will be accompanied by a parklet proposal assessment framework, funding structure, and management plan for factors such as parklet maintenance and risk mitigation.
As part of the development of this policy, the Town is working with Exchange Bar on Harrogate Street, West Leederville to trial a prototype parklet.
Community and local businesses will be invited to comment on both the policy and the trial parklet.
Photo caption: An example of a parklet in Whanganui, New Zealand. Image by provided through Wikicommons
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an alfresco parklet?
A parklet is usually a built structure such as a timber platform that can be placed over an on-street parking bay. The purpose of a parklet is to activate the street by reclaiming space for people that was previously designated for vehicles. Alfresco parklets are a type of parklet that is used for outdoor dining and associated with an existing food and beverage business. They are usually reserved for customers of a particular business during business operating hours and may be available for the public to use outside of business operating hours.
Are there any parklets in the Town of Cambridge?
Although popular in all neighbouring councils, there are no parklets in the Town of Cambridge. A trial alfresco parklet at Exchange Bar on Harrogate Street, West Leederville is proposed as part of the Town’s development of a parklet policy. It would be the first of its kind in the Town of Cambridge.
Why should the Town permit a private business to build a parklet on public land?
The Town is committed to supporting our local economy, and our Economic Development Strategy 2018-2022 goals include the activation of our Town centres and shared public spaces.
Parklets enhance and activate the streetscape by adding interest, character, and amenities to our Town centres. People are more likely to stay on a street (and visit local businesses) when they can see evidence of human activity and points of interest. Parklets help small local businesses by expanding their trading areas and improving their visibility to potential customers.
Is it safe to have an eating area on the road?
From a customer perspective, the parklet provides a seated environment similar to existing footpath alfresco areas that are enjoyed here and throughout the world.
Parklets can even enhance pedestrian and community safety. There is evidence that activating streets with points of interest and greater human activity can positively influence driver behaviour by creating ‘mental speed bumps’ that lower vehicle speeds and improve the alertness of drivers. They also result in more ‘eyes on the street’, improving community safety through an increase in passive (human) surveillance.
In other Councils where parklets are permitted, the design and placement of parklets are assessed by Traffic Engineering, Environmental Health, and Building Compliance teams for safety and compliance. Assessments are made based on the specific environment and proposed designs. These same controls are proposed to be included in the Town’s approach to the assessment of parklets.
Parklet designs often feature site-specific safety enhancements including reflective markers, bollards, and lighting depending on the site context and design. Construction will also often be conditional on the Business Owner obtaining a building permit to ensure the design complies with the Building Code of Australia, including accessibility standards.
See below for further information specific to the risk and accessibility assessment of the Exchange Bar trial alfresco parklet.
How has the community been consulted about parklets?
The development of a Parklet Policy is being undertaken by the Town in response to engagement with businesses who have expressed an interest in installing these street features.
Exchange Bar’s alfresco parklet application was the first parklet application submitted and was accompanied by 49 signatures of Town of Cambridge residents and businesses in support of its installation, most from West Leederville.
The Town is adopting a consultation-by-prototype approach as the first stage in developing a Parklet Policy. The Exchange Bar parklet has been approved on a trial basis to demonstrate and test how parklets may work in a Town of Cambridge context.
During the trial, an initial policy and assessment framework for all parklets will be developed by the town’s Place Development Officer and opportunities for community comment and business engagement will be provided prior to the adoption of any policy.
How do I apply for a parklet for my own business?
The Parklet at Exchange Bar on Harrogate Street, West Leederville has been approved as a trial whilst the Town develops a policy and assessment framework for parklet applications. This will include determining what (if any) locations and types of parklets are suitable and supported by the community.
Until this framework is developed, the Town will not be considering any additional parklet applications. However, businesses interested in a parklet outside their premise are encouraged to register their interest in the meantime.
Registered businesses will be consulted in the development of the parklet policy and framework.
Frequently Asked Questions - Trial Parklet at Exchange Bar, Harrogate Street, West Leederville
Will the trial parklet impact parking in the West Leederville area?
The trial parklet will be installed 24/7 across two paid parking bays, directly in front of the Exchange Bar. Therefore, Southport Street will see an effective loss of two paid parking bays.
However, unless parking demand outstrips supply, loss of parking bays does not equate to loss of visitors to local businesses or parking revenue to the Town, as visitors can park in another available bay on the same or adjacent street.
Data from the parking machines in the area reveals that outside of peak hours (11.30 am to 2.30 pm), the proposed parklet will not result in a loss in the availability of parking on Harrogate Street.
During peak hours (11.30 am to 2.30 pm), the parklet represents a 22.22% reduction in available parking on Harrogate Street. However, during these times, parking remains available on Oxford Close and the closer sections of Southport Street within 100m of the alfresco parklet location.
Does Exchange Bar have to pay for the trial alfresco parklet permit?
No fee will be charged in this instance, given the trial nature of this Alfresco Parklet Permit, as the permit may be cancelled at the Town’s discretion.
When assessing this application, the Town considered the financial impact of the loss of parking revenue as reasonably equivalent to the potential value that a parklet would provide to activate the Harrogate/Southport Precinct and improve the walkability of the area.
Will the trial alfresco parklet impact the accessibility of the footpath?
No. Neither the business owner, their staff nor customers may place any temporary or permanent furniture on the pedestrian thoroughfare between the existing bar and the parklet.
Customers will also not be permitted to consume food or drink on the footpath.
Who will be able to use the trial alfresco parklet?
As the alfresco parklet will form part of the Exchange Bar’s licensed area, only customers of the Exchange Bar will be permitted to use the parklet during their operating hours. The alfresco parklet will not be available for general public use, as the Exchange bar will remove their stools from the parklet outside of operating hours.
Signage identifying that the parklet is owned and operated by the business will be installed on the parklet.
Will alcoholic drinks be allowed in the trial alfresco parklet?
The business owner will be able to apply to the Department of Racing Gaming and Liquor to have the parklet licensed. No sales of any kind will be permitted in the parklet, so customers will have to order food and drinks at the main bar.
The business owner will be required to operate the parklet in compliance with the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911, Food Act 2008, Liquor Control Act 1988, and the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997.
Will smoking be permitted in the trial alfresco parklet?
No. The parklet will feature signage that identifies the parklet as a non-smoking area.
Is the trial alfresco parklet permanent?
The Town has conditionally approved a 24-month trial period for this alfresco parklet, subject to responses received from this notice. The trial does not guarantee that the permit will be renewed, however, renewal is possible if the trial goes well.
Signage will be installed on the parklet which communicates that it is installed as a trial and provides a means for the public to provide feedback or report issues directly to the Town.
When will the trial alfresco parklet be installed?
If the Business Owner is granted an alfresco parklet permit, the parklet shall be constructed and installed by the landowner. The construction of the parklet shall be undertaken at an offsite location and shall not commence without an approved Building Permit.
As such, timeframes for installation will be at the discretion of the business owner.
How has the Town assessed the safety of this trial alfresco parklet?
The design and placement of this alfresco parklet have been assessed by the Town’s Traffic Engineering, Environmental Health, and Building Compliance teams as presenting a low risk.
Harrogate St is a low-speed environment with on-street parking on both sides of the road. This parklet will be positioned over the top of one and a half existing parking bays, making the impact of the parklet on the road environment similar to that of a parked car.
The parklet design features safety enhancements including reflective markers and transparent sections to maintain vehicle site lines. Construction will also be conditional on the Business Owner obtaining a building permit to ensure the design complies with the Building Code of Australia, including accessibility standards.
Who is responsible for maintaining this trial alfresco parklet and ensuring the safety of people using the parklet?
The business owner will be required to keep the parklet well-maintained, to the satisfaction of the Town.
The permit will include conditions that ensure the parklet is both well-maintained and insured.
In the event that the Town deems the Parklet to be an unacceptable hazard, the Town will undertake any measures deemed necessary to mitigate the hazard, including but not limited to removal of the parklet.
How do I provide feedback or report an issue about the trial alfresco parklet once it is installed?
The community is encouraged to speak directly with the business owner regarding any concerns or feedback about the parklet to ensure any issues can be addressed promptly.
The business owner is required to maintain a register of any feedback, hazards or incidents related to the parklet and share this register with the Town to ensure any issues can be addressed in a consultative manner during the trial.
However, if you wish to provide feedback or report issues to the Town directly, this can be done via the contact details on this page.
These same details are also featured on signage that will be installed on the parklet.
Council determines to conditionally approves Alfresco Parklet Trial Permit by Exchange Bar and support the development of a Parklet Policy.
At the December 2022 Ordinary Council Meeting, Council resolved to;
1. Issue a Licenced Alfresco Parklet Permit, inclusive of installation and operation, and an Outdoor Eating Permit to Exchange Bar at Lot 4 (No. 4/32) Harrogate Street, West Leederville. The permit will be issued with no fees or charges for the duration of the 24-month trial period; and
2. Endorse that any future Parklet applications are not considered until further community consultation and engagement is undertaken and a framework for assessment of applications, including a fee structure, is developed and approved by Council.
7 Day Local Notice Period open for 4/34 Harrogate Street Trial Parklet
Comments are open to the community by online survey. Letters issued to Southport Precinct, West Leederville, and notices displayed at Administration Centre, Town of Cambridge Library and Wembley Community Centre.
Comments invited on the development of a Parklet Policy
Comments are not yet open. Anticipated date: June 2023.