Council's plan to crack down on foreign language signs

A Sydney council is weighing up a proposal to reduce foreign writing on business signs.

Strathfield Council, in the city’s inner-west, heard the proposal at the last council meeting, which would see size limits applied to foreign language accompanying English text.

The additional foreign writing on the sign would be limited to 30 per cent of the size of the English typeface. 

Strathfield Councillor Matthew Blackmore told Yahoo7 News the proposal was made in a bid to “improve our commercial streetscapes and improve communication”.

Cr Blackmore said the changes are to be discussed with the community before any changes are made and if the changes are approved, only new businesses would be affected.

New businesses in Strathfield could face a revised rule meaning foreign text on signage can be no larger than 30 per cent of its English typeface. Source: Google Maps

“We are just improving our guidelines moving into the future,” he said.

“The reason for the change was to tidy up already existing guidelines, which the large majority of shops already comply with.”

According to the latest census, Chinese is the highest demographic in Strathfield, with 21.9 per cent of its population with Chinese ancestry, considerably higher than the national 3.9 per cent.

Only 32.7 per cent of Strathfield’s resident’s spoke only English at home, with 65.4 per cent of households speaking other languages, including 14.5 per cent speaking Mandarin.

More than a fifth of Strathfield’s residents have Chinese ancestry. Source: Getty, file.

NSW Business Chamber spokesman Damian Kelly told Yahoo7 News they were behind any new measures which reduce customers feeling isolated due to restricting signage.

“We welcome anything that will encourage new customers,” he said.

However he said councils should tread with caution if implementing a rule change, suggesting a broad rule for all businesses may not work.

“We would much prefer councils to work closely with individual businesses,” he said.