Pavement Cafés

Photograph of outdoor chairs and tables

The Licensing of Pavement Cafes (NI) Act 2014 allows hospitality premises to place tables and chairs on public pavements, by applying for a pavement cafe licence from their local council.

This Northern Ireland wide legislation helps ensure that pavement cafes are well regulated and contribute positively to our town centres and villages.

Pavement Café Licence Application consultations

You can also read Council's Pavement Café Poilcy on the Pavement Café License Policy page.

You can also read our guidance notes for apply for a Pavement Café Licence on the Pavement Café Application Guidance Notes page.

A pavement café licence authorises a person who operates a business supplying food or drink (in or from premises) to place temporary furniture on a public area for use by customers.

This includes:

  • cafés
  • restaurants
  • pubs
  • retail outlets providing refreshments
  • takeaways
  • supermarkets with a deli counter

How to apply

Before submitting an application for a Pavement Café Licence you should read our guidance information which outlines the various requirements for having a suitable pavement café area including -

  • pedestrian and vehicular access
  • size and layout
  • likely disturbance to other businesses or residents
  • furniture design
  • safety issues 

Documents required

To apply for a Pavement Café Licence you will need to provide us with the following information:

  • Completed application form
  • Evidence of Public Liability Insurance of at least £5million which shows that your cover includes the provision of a pavement café on public footpath.
  • An accurate plan showing the dimensions of your proposed pavement café area and details of the furniture and enclosure.
  • A scale 1:500 ACEmap of the location of your premises – these are available from the NI Direct government services website.

Public Notice

Applicants are required to fix a public notice to the premises to advise that they have made an application to council.

This should be done on the day the application is sent to the Council.

The notice must be positioned so as to be visible and legible to the public for 28 days.

In addition the Council will make the application available to be viewed by the public on the Council’s website until the end of the period allowed for representations.

Consulting other organisations

When assessing your application we will also consult:

  • Department for Infrastructure - Roads
  • Police Service for Northern Ireland where the premises are licensed to sell alcohol
  • other council departments, organisations or individuals as appropriate

How long will it take to process my application?

Council aims to provide you with a determination within 3 months from date of receipt of a completed application including all the required plans and licence proposals.

How much will a Pavement Café licence cost?

The Council does not charge a fee to apply for a payment café licence.

Objections and appeals


If we receive objections to an application which are not resolved through mediation, the application will be referred to our Licensing Committee for further consideration.

If this happens, both you and anyone who objects to your application, will have the opportunity to present a case to the committee.


If your application is refused, you can appeal the decision to the Magistrate's Court within 21 days of being notified of our 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.

Does tacit consent apply?

Tacit consent does not apply to Pavement Café Licences and you must not begin to use the proposed pavement café area until you have been formally granted with a licence from the council.

How long will a licence last for?

A pavement café licence will be granted for an indefinite timescale.

However, it is not permitted to transfer a pavement café licence to another licence holder. Meaning that if you take over a premises with an existing pavement café licence, it will no longer be valid and you will need to apply for a new one.

Contact Us

You may also wish to discuss your proposal with an officer from Licensing Team.

You can contact us:

T: 028 2826 2498

Licensing Section
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
Public Protection and Wellbeing Department
Smiley Buildings
Victoria Road
BT40 1RU