In response to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the hospitality sector, the Victorian Government introduced Outdoor Dining Funding Initiatives to encourage councils to support the implementation of temporary extended outdoor dining spaces, including the installation of parklets and pop-up parks.
What is a parklet?
A parklet is a footpath extension that provides more space and amenities for people using the street, including outdoor dining. These pockets of outdoor space can bring more people and activity to a street while leaving footpaths clear for people passing through.
What is a pop-up park?
Pop-up parks can last a day, many weeks or can become permanent. They are small green spaces with landscaping and grassed areas.
Horsham’s outdoor spaces
Pop up park 1: Roberts Place, Horsham
Installed in late 2020, the pop-up park features natural lawn, flower boxes and fixed seating made from recycled materials.
The aim is to create more outdoor dining opportunities for the city’s restaurant and cafe scene. The park provides a place where people can socialise, relax, enjoy a picnic or takeaway food.
Parklet 1: Bus terminal, Roberts Avenue (trial location)
During busy periods, there is often a shortage of seating and shade at the bus stop, and parents with young children are often concerned about children running around while waiting for the bus. The parklet is located in a car parking area close to the terminal and will provide a safer waiting space. The allocated taxi parking bay will be relocated a few meters away to the other side of the parklet, and the parklet will soon have shade and plants added. Two carparks have been temporarily occupied by this parklet.
Parklet 2: Roberts Avenue (trial location)
Located near the corner of Darlot Street, this parklet will soon have shade and plants added, although it is strategically located to take advantage of the existing trees. This parklet location was chosen in response to feedback suggesting that seating would be appreciated between the main street and the Horsham Plaza shopping area.
In addition, The Central Cafe provides pathway employment opportunities for Horsham Special School students, and it is hoped that the parklet will provide support for this worthy enterprise. Two carparks have been temporarily occupied by this parklet.
Parklet 3: Top end of Firebrace Street (trial location)
The top end of Firebrace Street hosts a number of takeaway food businesses and offices, so this location was chosen to provide an outdoor eating space supporting this area. The parklet will soon have shade and plants added, but has been located on the north side of the existing tree so that the carpark on the south side still receives shade from the tree. Two carparks have been temporarily occupied by this parklet. The Loading Zone next to the tree will be relocated to the north side of the parklet temporarily.
- Council has intentionally avoided having parklets in the busiest parking areas of Firebrace Street (between McLachlan Street and Pynsent Street)
- People will be able to provide feedback via a survey in the coming months
- The parklets are open for anyone to use at any time (not just customers of nearby businesses).
Thank you to everyone who participated in community engagement and consultation across the past three years.
Through community consultation, we know that residents, visitors and local workers are overwhelmingly positive about the outdoor dining improvements in the city including the pop-up park in Roberts Place and the HRCC-supported improvements to outdoor dining provided by local hospitality providers. The community has told us that more pop-up parks and parklets should be installed.
At the August 2022 Meeting, Council adopted the Horsham Streetscape Plan(PDF, 13MB).
As part of the plan, a major deliverable is to create opportunities for pop-up parks and parklets.
Improvement Strategy # 2 More generous and higher quality public spaces on the keys streets of Horsham with more space for shade, will provide the setting that makes people want to stop, socialise and explore
If you want to know more about what happened at the Council meeting, you can watch a replay of it here. Want to know exactly what feedback was gathered over the past three years? You can access engagement reports here.
Comments from Mayor Robyn Gulline
“We’re very excited about the introduction of the parklets– they can temporarily transform urban spaces and extend the amount of time residents and tourists spend in an area, which is great for our local businesses,” Cr Gulline said.
“The new parklets are still under construction. When finished they will have shade structures as well plants to provide greenery. They will help to activate the streetscape and give people a spot to meet, sit and read a book or eat with friends.
“They can be moved multiple times throughout the year to activate community spaces within the municipality, and we will be engaging with the community to seek feedback on these locations in the coming months.”
“So I encourage everyone to make the most of these spaces, especially over the warmer months, and to get out and support our wonderful hospitality businesses by grabbing some take away to enjoy at one of our new parklets.”