Shopping Study Shows Opportunities for Darling Street

The Inner West Council is set to level the playing field for Balmain businesses up against big mall operators, with ground-breaking research originally commissioned by the former Leichhardt Council giving an insight into spending habits on Darling Street.

Inner West Council Administrator Richard Pearson said that Darling Street in Balmain and Rozelle is one of Sydney’s prime retail strips and a key commercial centre in the Inner West Council area.

“In a move that puts the Inner West at the forefront of economic research, Council has completed a study of banking transaction data, measuring the performance of the Darling Street precinct,” he said.

“We are the first local government to try this approach, although big retailers like Westfield and Stocklands do it regularly.

“The study shows that Darling St is performing relatively well, servicing just as many locals as it does out of area shoppers. But it does make some recommendations about things we can do to help improve the Darling Street economy.”

As a result of the study data, Council is:

  • Meeting with Woolworths to urge the retail giant to improve the retail offers on its Balmain site, with the aim of capturing more locals for their supermarket shop – and the flow on spend at surrounding businesses.
  • Meeting with Urban Growth and other stakeholders about the development of the Bays Precinct, particularly White Bay, and how it can better connect to the Darling Street precinct.
  • Partnering with Destination NSW, TAFE NSW, Ports Authority of NSW and City of Sydney Council to develop a training program for volunteers to meet and greet cruise visitors to Sydney.
  • Offering a free shuttle bus from Cruise Ship terminal along the Darling Street strip.
  • Working with landowners, commercial agents and businesses to get a better mix of shops – with results showing clearly that more clothing and speciality retail could be successful.
  • Working on a program to support and promote heritage pubs and hotels as a key marketing strength that can help publicise the area to locals and visitors.
  • Responding to community desire for a keystone festival in Balmain by extending the highly successful Jazz in the Park at Gladstone Park into a larger festival event
  • Working to help revitalise the much loved Balmain Markets.
The inner west council is home to 70,000 businesses. The Retail Sector, centred largely around its ten main-street urban precincts, is one of the top contributors to local productivity and employment.

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Page last updated: 03 Jun 2022