Dead, sterile and ignored is how local business has described Oxford St in a scathing attack on the council’s management of our gay playground.

Darlinghurst and Surry Hills Business Partnership president Lawrence Gibbons says local businesses are exasperated the council had commissioned another round of talks to look at renewing the struggling precinct.

“There’s a lot of good things happening and creative businesses operating in the area, but they are doing it tough,” Gibbons said.

“We’ve had enough talking, engagement, studies, consultants; we want to activate the street, we want council to allow us to develop a cohesive marketing and cultural strategy for the area and then actually implement it.”

Gibbons said the council has released some funding for the group to begin promoting the area – worth about $27,500 – but had made the bulk of a cultural grant worth a further $52,000, conditional on further development.

“We reject staff claims that the proposals need further development,” he said.

“We have a history delivering projects around Oxford St over a number of years so, for us to be told they don’t like their own staffs’ work product and therefore are not going to fund real life promotional work on the street is just not acceptable”.

Gibbons said the council was obsessing over the night economy while daytime businesses had left the area.

A City of Sydney spokeswoman told Star Observer the council was committed to enacting the 2008 Oxford St Cultural Quarter Action Plan.

“Our grants and sponsorship program is there to support community organisations and events; and the strict eligibility criteria – and assessment panel – ensures every grant is a sensible allocation of ratepayer funds,” she said.

“An audit this year of the Oxford St Cultural Quarter Action Plan’s 51 actions found more than 85 per cent of the actions were either complete, complete and ongoing or in progress.”

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