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Pavement Cafe Licensing

Pavement cafés are becoming a familiar sight across the UK and Ireland. They can help develop a local café culture, which in turn can have a positive effect on urban environments, promote town and city centres, contribute to the general well-being of communities and appeal to tourists.

Well-regulated pavement cafes can contribute to an excellent visitor experience, enhance the attractiveness of a local area and encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more.

The information which follows provides a snapshot of some of the key aspects of applying for a Pavement Cafe Licence.

A guidance document, with full details of the application process including the application form and an example of a public notice advertisement and sample layout plan, are available by contacting our Environmental Health service.

Tel: 03000 132 132


What is a Pavement Cafe 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 temporary furniture (such as tables and chairs) on a public area for use by customers.
This includes cafés, restaurants, pubs, retail outlets providing refreshments, takeaways and supermarkets with a deli counter.

Who can apply?

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

Is the area you want to use suitable?

The Council offers advice on what it considers appropriate for a Pavement Café Licence. The suitability criteria required includes consideration of the following:

  • Pedestrian and vehicular access

  • Size, layout and furniture design

  • Likely disturbance to other businesses or residents

  • Safety issues.

In general, the pavement café area will need to be set-up immediately adjacent to the premises.  However, a licence for a remote café may be granted where:

  • the proposed cafe does not 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 cafe area.

How do I apply for a pavement café licence?

If you wish to apply for a pavement café licence you must:

  • Submit a completed application form (contact our Environmental Health Service to request a guidance document and application form).

  • Submit a range of documentation to support the application (including location plan, proposed café plan, details of the furniture, a copy of your alcohol licence if appropriate, public liability insurance, planning permission where appropriate, a management control plan for remote cafés)

  • Affix a public notice to the premises on the day application is made to the Council. This must be positioned so that it is visible to the public for 28 days. Interested parties can make representations to the Council in respect of an application. Applicants must complete the declaration on the application form stating that the required notice has been erected and that they will maintain it in place for 28 days from the date of application.

Consultation Process

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

When assessing an application, Council will also consult with the following agencies:

  • Department for Infrastructure’s Roads Service (DfI Roads)

  • The Police Service for Northern Ireland where the premises is licensed to sell alcohol, and

  • Any other Council department, organisation or individual as appropriate.

How much does it cost?
There is no fee to apply for a pavement café licence.

How long will it take to process my application?
The Council will aim to provide you with a determination within 4 to 6 weeks from the date of receipt of a completed application, which includes all the required plans and associated documentation for the licence proposal.

This is to allow full and proper consultation in line with Departmental guidelines, site visits and input from consultees.

In the event of written representations and objections being received, it may however take up to 12 weeks for a final determination and ratification to be made by Committee and Council.

If there are objections to the granting of the licence, then it may be necessary for the above period to be extended to consider those objections.

Further Information

Department for Communities (DfC) Guidance
Licensing of Pavement Cafés Act (Northern Ireland) 2014

For more information or to discuss the application process in more detail, please contact the Environmental Health Service's licensing team on 03000 132 132 or email