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The Licensing of Pavement Cafés (Northern Ireland) Act 2014

This legislation was drafted to make provision for the regulation by local councils of the placing in public areas of furniture for use for the consumption of food or drink.

The Act includes the following main provisions

– It is an offence to place furniture for use for the consumption of food or drink on a public area unless the furniture is temporary and the business or person holds a pavement café licence.

-Public area is defined as a place in the open air to which the public has access without payment as of right and which is not in a market area.

-Furniture means tables, chairs, umbrellas, barriers, heaters etc. and it is of a “temporary” nature if it can all be removed by the business within 20 minutes.

– Unless the council considers that a licence application should be refused on the following grounds, it must grant the application:

a) Where any part of the public area is unsuitable
b) That the placing of furniture on any part of the area would be likely to result in undue interference or inconvenience to people or vehicles in the vicinity, or likely to result in disorder
c) If the applicant knowingly made a false statement in a material respect in connection with its application
d) If the applicant has at any time had a pavement café licence revoked or that could have been revoked for reasons within the applicant’s control.

-The council has discretion to impose such conditions as it considers reasonable, including

a) Limiting the days/times when the furniture can be placed in the area
b) Limiting the kind, amount, size, nature of the furniture;

-A licence holder may apply to the council to vary certain conditions in the licence or to vary the area to be covered by the licence

-In general, a pavement café area would need to be set up immediately adjacent to the premises. However, a licence for a remote café may be granted if the proposed café doesn’t interfere with both vehicular and pedestrian traffic flow and the licence holder is able to demonstrate that they will be able to exercise proper control and supervision of the pavement café area.


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