Why should pavement cafés be licensed?

    There is scope to ensure pavement cafés enhance the locality in which they are to be situated and not create undue noise or other nuisance to residents or neighbouring businesses.  A key consideration prior to licensing will be that the pavement café does not obstruct the footpath or footway and does not present a hazard for pedestrians, particularly people with a physical disability or mobility needs, people who are blind or partially sighted and carers or people with dependants.

    What is a pavement café licensing scheme?

    Under the provisions of the Licensing of Pavement Cafés Act (Northern Ireland) 2014 the Council may grant a Pavement Café Licence – authorising a person who carries out a business involving the supply of food or drink (in or from a premises) to place furniture (tables, chairs, etc.) in a public area for use by customers.

    It is an offence to place furniture (for the use for the consumption of food and drink) on a public area without a Pavement Café Licence.

    What are the objectives of the proposed permanent café licensing scheme?

    The objectives of permanent pavement café licensing scheme are: 

    • To facilitate the controlled expansion of suitable premises, such as cafés, restaurants, and pubs, provide small businesses with an opportunity to boost their income, to support  a vibrant daytime and evening economy and the general wellbeing of the community.
    • To ensure Belfast has well-regulated pavement cafés, have a positive effect on commercial environments, enhance the attractiveness of local areas and contribute to an excellent visitor experience.
    • To encourage pavement cafés while ensuring that they are properly situated and managed.