Like a jail ... shut up shops in Redfern. Photo: Wade Laube

The City of Sydney and the Redfern-Waterloo Authority are offering cash grants to local shop owners to remove the shutters from their shop fronts.

The chief executive of the Redfern-Waterloo Authority, Roy Wakelin-King, said the extra security is no longer necessary. ''The shutters are a dated representation of the Redfern-Waterloo area,'' he said. ''The area is changing in a positive way.''


No pane, no gain … Poppy Doumanis said removing the roller shutters from her windows has allowed her to display her wares and attract customers. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Poppy Doumanis, 57, the owner of Black Lace, a fashion factory outlet near Redfern station, was the first to take up the offer and remove the shutters. ''It will improve my business,'' Ms Doumanis said. She added that now the shutters have gone, she has display windows that attract customers.

Ms Doumanis first installed the shutters more than 25 years ago. No one would insure her shop otherwise, she said, because its windows were broken ''nearly every week''.

But Ms Doumanis agrees with Mr Wakelin-King that ''things have changed'' in Redfern and she is not worried about removing the shutters. Instead, she hopes people can walk through the area and not feel as though they are visiting a jail.

Three other shop owners have so far followed her lead. Mr Wakelin-King expects more to come and is already seeing improvement. ''It's made a thousand per cent difference in the appearance of that shop,'' he said.

Installing new shutters has been outlawed by the local council since 2001. ''This is about removing old shutters which have been there for a long time,'' Mr Wakelin-King said.

He said business owners in the area should not fear removing their shutters and that the suburb's continuing notoriety as an area with a high crime rate was a misperception.

''There would be no need for … additional levels of security, because the place is changing,'' he said. ''We're saying that Redfern is open for business.''

Source: www.smh.com.au/nsw/shutters-to-come-down-on-redferns-rough-reputation-20111230-1pfiu.html