Strathfield Council has passed by-laws to restrict the foreign text on shopfronts in Strathfield and Homebush areas.
The new rules limit the size of foreign text and require it to be no larger than their English equivalent on shopfronts.
Strathfield councillor Matthew Blackmore said the measures were intended to “set a standard in the presentation of signs in shops” and “improve our commercial streetscapes.”
He originally wanted a 30 per cent cap on the size of foreign text, as well as menus, but this was scaled back to a 50-50 “balance” by a majority of councillors last week.
Since a draft version of the policy was released in April, 69 per cent of submissions have been opposed with some believing it could add “unnecessary red tape”, or “undermine” the region’s multicultural diversity.
Latest Census data shows 63 per cent of people living in the Strathfield council area were born overseas. Cr Blackmore said the policy was not about “having a go at any particular group”.
Some business owners have questioned how the policy will be enforced and whether logos containing foreign text or numbers will be factored into it.
The 50/50 limit was passed under an alternative motion from Deputy Mayor Nella Hall, who rejected a last minute proposal from Cr Blackmore for a 40/60 mix, in favour of English.
Before the meeting, a council report describing the policy as “an unnecessary and backwards step”.
Submissions in favour of the changes said they would bring “consistency” to street signs and help residents identify shops.
The changes are similar to the 50 per cent caps set by Liverpool and Campbelltown councils.