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Pavement Cafés

Licensing of Pavement Cafés Act (Northern Ireland) 2014
Caffe Nero, 115-117 Main Street, Newcastle, BT33 0AE

Website Notice

Public Notice

Site Layout Plan

Site Location Map


Licensing of Pavement Cafés Act (Northern Ireland) 2014
(Commencement) Order (Northern Ireland) 2016.

What is a Pavement Café Licence?

A Pavement Café Licence authorises a person who carries on a business involving the supply of food or drink (in or from premises) to place furniture (tables, chairs etc.) on a public area for use by their customers. This includes cafés, restaurants, pubs, retail outlets providing refreshments, takeaways, supermarkets with a deli counter, etc.

Note: A licensed pavement café area will remain a public place and is therefore subject to all other legislation applicable to such areas except alcohol bye-laws in certain circumstances.

Who may apply?

Any person or persons who carry on a business (in or from a premises) involving the supply of food or drink to the public, may apply for a Pavement Café Licence.

Pavement Cafe Applications

Is the area you want to use suitable for a Pavement Café?

The ‘Pavement Café Guidance for Applicants’ document offers advice on what the council will consider in assessing applications including:

  • Pedestrian and vehicular access.
  • Size and layout.
  • Likely disturbance to other businesses or residents.
  • Furniture design.
  • Safety issues.

Hours of Operation

The Council will confirm the hours and days of use for the pavement café area having regard to the location, likely disturbance to local residents or other businesses and representations from interested parties.

Normally the Council will consider that licences will be granted for hours between 8am and 11pm.

Unlicensed Pavement Cafés

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.

The council has the power to remove any furniture placed on the pavement without a licence where it is considered necessary to do so and may recover the costs reasonably incurred in removing and storing this furniture.

Making an Application

Before submitting an application, please read the ‘Pavement Café Guidance for Applicants’ thoroughly to check whether your proposal will meet all the criteria.

All applications for a Pavement Café Licence must be accompanied by the following:

Site location plan

A plan must be provided (preferably ordinance survey) showing the proposed pavement café area marked in red and the adjoining streets and properties.

Licence fee

All applications for a Pavement Café Licence are accompanied by the relevant fee determined by the council. The application fee for a grant of a Pavement Café Licence is £400 and the application fee for a renewal of a Pavement Café Licence is £300.

Proposed café plan

A plan must be provided to a scale of not less than 1:100 the proposed pavement café area, the streetscape and all utilities and services including lampposts, bollards, fire hydrants, manholes, cycle stands, litter bins and any other items of street furniture located within the immediate vicinity.  The dimensions of the proposed pavement café area must also be shown. Please see appendix 1 for examples of pavement café plans.

Details of the furniture

Provide details of the number, materials and types of chairs, tables, umbrellas, etc., to be provided in the café (photographs/manufacturers, detailed brochures of proposed furniture or photographs of existing furniture would be helpful to the council).

Public liability insurance cover with minimum indemnity of £5m.

Planning permission where appropriate provide evidence of.

If the café is to be located away from the main premises or patrons/ staff will need to cross a public pavement to reach the café area then you must provide a risk assessment and a managed control plan.

Public Notice

Applicants are required to fix a public notice (See application form) to the premises on the day the application is made to the Council.  The notice must be positioned so as to be visible and legible to the public for 28 days to allow for representations.  In addition the Council will make the application available to be viewed by the public on the Council’s web site, until the end of the period allowed for representations.  You must complete the declaration on the application form that you have erected the notice and that you will maintain it for 28 days from the date of application.


It is recommended that businesses discuss their proposals with adjacent property occupiers to inform them of the application.

When an application is made for the grant, renewal or variation of a licence the applicant must display a public notice indicating that they have made application for a pavement café licence and that any objections can be made in writing to Council within 28 days of display. 28 days will be given for comments and any objections will be considered prior to the licence determination.

The Council will also give notice of the application on its web site


We will also consult with the following:

  • the Transport NI to ensure that any implications for vehicular traffic, pedestrians and public safety impacts are properly taken into account; and
  • the Police Service for Northern Ireland where the premises is licensed to sell alcohol;
  • the Planning Department; and
  • any other Council Department, organisations or individuals as appropriate.  

Can my Licence application be refused?

Yes. Due to factors such as visual impact, width restrictions, obstructions or very heavy pedestrian flow it may not be possible to accommodate pavement cafés in all locations.  However we will consider each application on its own merits.  We will normally follow the policy however if we have to depart substantially from the policy we will explain why.

Following consideration of your application Council may make changes to your proposal to meet the licensing criteria including amending the size and shape of the licensed area.  Once these changes are agreed by the applicant and implemented the licence will be granted.

If your proposal fails to meet the criteria and your application is refused by the Council you will be informed of that decision and you will be refunded the administrative fee.

Following refusal of an application the applicant may appeal against the refusal to the Magistrates’ Court within 21 days of being notified of the Council’s decision. Licence holders may also appeal a decision to suspend or revoke a licence or vary the area and conditions of a licence (as an alternative to revocation), or to limit the duration of a licence.

How to Apply

Further information can be obtained from:

Newry Office                                                                                 
Licensing Section                   
O'Hagan House
Monaghan Row
Newry, BT35 8DJ

Downpatrick Office
Licensing Section
Downshire Civic Centre
Downshire Estate
Ardglass Road
Downpatrick, BT30 6GQ

Alternatively click on the links in the downloads section

Contact Details

Email: licensing@nmandd.org   

Telephone: 0330 137 4030

  • application form for pavement cafe licence
  • pavement cafe guidance for applicants