News & Insights: Licensing

Pavement Licensing

23 February 2024

We are all excited to see the brighter nights appear as the winter months draw to a close. Within a few weeks our sights will be set on eating alfresco in the summer sun. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many hospitality venues availed of the beneficial and complimentary process for the granting of temporary pavement café licences as dining outside provided a break from lockdown measures while ensuring necessary protections were in place. However, the end of the Covid-19 pandemic also brought the end of the temporary process for pavement café licence applications with no associated fee.
If you availed of this procedure during the pandemic or wish to apply for a pavement café licence, you must follow the new procedure, which presents more restrictions and heightened costs. This new licensing scheme will be fully implemented by 30th April 2024 and allows existing licensed business to continue to operate until the grant of their permanent licence. However, if you have a temporary licence and do not apply for your permanent licence by 30th April, this licence will become invalid and ineffective.
The pavement café licence authorises a person who operates a business which supplies food or drink to place furniture on a public area for customers to enjoy their consumables. These businesses can be premises such as cafés, restaurants, public houses, takeaway units etc. Much like an intoxicating liquor licence granted under the Licensing (Northern Ireland) Order 1996, a pavement café licence will be granted for five years. These licences must be renewed at the end of the fifth year and can be varied at an additional fee.
The fees in respect of the pavement café licence are as follows:
• Application Fee – £225.00
• Annual Licence Fee (payable on every year except the first year of your licence) – £55.00
• Renewal Application Fee – £112.50
• Variation Application Fee – £112.50
The pavement café licence will usually be granted for set hours between 7am and 11pm, however, these can be extended or restricted in certain circumstances. However, it is noteworthy that a pavement café licence for a premises with a liquor licence will not be granted beyond 11:30pm, regardless of the additional operating hours in place at the premises.
The application can be made online or via hard copy to your local district council. Before granting a permanent pavement café licence, the council will consider vehicular and pedestrian access, size and layout of the proposed licensed area, likely disturbance to other businesses or residents, furniture design and health and safety issues. It is imperative when applying to provide a location plan with the premises outlined in red and a site layout plan showing the layout of the pavement café area together with any obstructions such as bins, barriers, or trees.
For an applicant to be successful they must also have public liability insurance with minimum indemnity of £5 million. A management plan and risk assessment should be carried out and a public notice should be displayed on the premises for 28 days from the date of application.
The Licensing Team at O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors can provide expert advice on the new procedure for pavement café licences, as well as all your other licensing needs. Please do not hesitate to contact O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors for further licensing advice on 02890321000 or

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