Rides, stalls to invigorate Crown St Mall

The New York City street staples of flower markets, fruit stalls and horse-drawn carriages could soon be a feature in Crown Street Mall.

Wollongong City Council's economic development team has submitted plans to scale back numerous controls on outdoor trading in the mall, between Kembla and Keira streets, as part of efforts to breathe life into the strip.

The proposed modification to the existing consent for traders wanting to operate in the mall would allow for more outdoor dining, an increased use of footpaths by pavement artists and performers, and more live or amplified music in the mall.

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Also proposed are horse-drawn cart rides, pop-up fruit stalls and street trading.

The council's economic development manager, Mark Grimson, said the plan meant a wide range of activities could take place in the mall without each operator having to submit a development application to the council.

"We're just trying to streamline the process and make it simpler and more attractive for people to do things like flower or fruit kiosks or other street-vending activities," he said.

"It doesn't necessarily mean we have firm views that we should have horse-drawn carriages, but if someone did come to us and say they'd like to do something like that on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon, it would be something we could consider."

Mr Grimson said the council would ensure any activities did not detract from the permanent Crown Street Mall retailers.

"If anything we want to complement those retailers - because if you look at the Friday markets, the number of people in the mall at lunchtime then is far greater than any other day of the week," he said.

"So while people purchase goods at the markets, retailers in the mall also have greater business and that's certainly the thinking here because having more people coming into our city gives everyone the chance to share in the prosperity."

He also said more activity outside traditional retail hours could help to deter the recent tree vandals and other antisocial behaviour in the mall.

"It's well documented that having more street-level activation like outdoor dining does two things - it brings more people into the city and also deters antisocial behaviour because there's more people around," he said.

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