Posted by & filed under Inner West Independent.

A revitalisation project is being prepared for Darling Street, focused on rejuvenating the local retail
environment amid the economic challenges now confronting the area.

Headed by the Balmain and Rozelle Chamber of Commerce, the project aims to support all businesses to ensure that the strip does not lose its unique character.

“Many retailers do not have the same buoyancy that they once had, and there have even been walkouts by some shop owners.

“This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

We need to draw locals and outside residents back into the area,” the project manager for the revitalisation project, Connie Comber, said.

Mrs Comber noted these economic difficulties faced by shop owners have escalated in the passed three years and revolve around high commercial rent levels and difficult parking conditions.

This is echoed by those in the local business community.

Terry Fairbairn, who opened a vintage goods store on Darling Street six months ago, is concerned about parking and rental prices.

“As a business owner, parking is such a major issue. There are no loading zones and just the other day, I got a parking fine when I was unloading goods into my shop,” Mrs Fairbairn said.

“Balmain is the dead end of town because rent is so expensive, and I think what is happening there will happen in Rozelle as well,” she said.

Colin Clarke, a worker at a second hand book store in Rozelle, said that these high rent prices have contributed to an increasing lack of diversity in the area.

“Only people that can afford to move in here do, and we have seen a lower variety and dwindling diversity along the street,” he said.

Mrs Comber said that the revitalisation project will address these issues.

“There are still many things in Rozelle and Balmain that are appealing and beneficial for the community.

The project is looking to raise awareness that now is the time to make a change before these things completely disappear,” she said.

The Balmain and Rozelle Chamber of Commerce will be conducting research with locals in the coming weeks in order to finalise the revitalisation project.