Views sought on street cafe licence fees

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales, enjoys some caf� culture at Sozo, North Street, Carrickfergus with the restaurants Darren Stewart and Owen Fulton from the councils Environmental Health department.  INCT 30-724-CON
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales, enjoys some caf� culture at Sozo, North Street, Carrickfergus with the restaurants Darren Stewart and Owen Fulton from the councils Environmental Health department. INCT 30-724-CON

The growing pavement cafe culture across the wider Mid and East Antrim borough could be in line for a civic sweetener.

Currently, an estimated 25 businesses across the borough operate a pavement cafe in the absence of a local licensing scheme.

Thanks to changes in legislation that takes effect on October 1, 2016, business selling food or drink who wish to place tables and chairs on public pavements will be able to apply for an official pavement café licence.

The Licensing of Pavement Cafes (NI) Act 2014 will come into effect on that date to allow for regulated pavement cafes across the borough.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE said: “Council members are very supportive of the positive contribution that street cafés can make to out towns and villages but equally recognise that they need to be properly managed to ensure that they operate to high standards.

“By making it as easy as possible to apply for a pavement café license the council hopes that local businesses can take advantage of the new public realm schemes that have or will be soon completed in the borough.

“Pavement cafes add vitality and interest to the street scene as well as maximising the use of public spaces.”

The council is currently consulting on its fee proposals for pavement café licences.

Currently, the proposal is for a zero fee being charged for businesses to apply for a three-year pavement café licence.

Details of the consultation are available at www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/consultations.

The closing date for comments is 5pm on Friday, August 5.

Meanwhile, Larne Renovation Generation hosted a successful ‘Cafe Culture Night’ in the town in June.