BY STEPHANIE TILLER
A City of Sydney Council proposal to remove unnecessary barriers and make street art more accessible has been praised by the Sydney art community.
The proposal seeks to remove the current requirement for street artists to seek development consent before any work can be carried out in the City of Sydney local government area.
Instead artists will have to provide written consent from a property owner and any commissioned artwork will have to comply with heritage and special character area guidelines.
Jess Scully, City of Sydney Councillor, says the proposed policy has received widespread support from the community.
“It’s been an overwhelmingly positive response from both the street art community, and building owners in our city.
“I know there are a lot of homeowners who want to connect with artists and a lot of artists who are looking for a canvas and a place to showcase their creativity, so I’m hopeful that our changes at the City of Sydney will go towards building those ties within the community.
“Sydney already has a lot to offer when it comes to a fantastic creative and cultural scene, adding colour to our buildings and laneways is going to make it even better,” she said.
Sydney Street Artist, Scott Marsh, says he is happy the proposed policy looks set to be implemented.
“I support the new street art policy for sure, it’s been a long time coming.
“I recall Clover Moore talking about this policy a few years ago and me and my peers were really happy that something was going to happen but at least it is here now which is positive,” he said.
Sydney Street Artist, Fintan Magee, says he has had to carry out the majority of his work in the Inner West due to the restrictions in place in the City of Sydney.
“It’s good news for us and it’s really going to make working in the city of Sydney a lot easier.
“Most of my work has been done in the Inner West and the reason I’ve always worked there is because working in the City of Sydney area is just too difficult.
“There’s been a few instances where we’ve tried to get projects off the ground and we couldn’t do it because we had to pay around one thousand dollars to do a development application when we only had a couple of hundred in the budget for the project, so that made everything really hard,” he said.
However, some city of Sydney residents are concerned that the proposed policy will result in the destruction of heritage buildings and increased levels of graffiti and vandalism.
Andrew Woodhouse, President of the Potts Point and Kings Cross Heritage and Residents’ Society, says the council needs to rethink its position to conserve the heritage buildings in the area.
“Council’s compliance regime is notoriously lax and laissez-faire.
“Heritage sandstone is particularly porous and vulnerable, it’s a signature a feature of our glorious city so why jeopardise it.
“Word on the street is that council can’t be trusted to do the right thing by the community and we don’t trust them to implement this policy either.
“They should concentrate on fixing dangerous footpaths, cleaning filthy Kings Cross streets, getting illegal bikes off the footpath and fining DA breaches and noise complaints,” he said.
Ms Scully says the proposed policy will be on public exhibition once the Greater Sydney Commission signs off on the policy.
“The City of Sydney has passed the new street art policy and is awaiting approval from the Greater Sydney Commission.
“The Greater Sydney Commission will provide a ‘Gateway Determination’ for consultation and public exhibition, and the typical timeframe is 21 days for public authority consultation and 28 days public exhibition,” she said.