The Building Control Manager reminded the Committee that, at its meeting in December 2016, it had determined a number of matters in relation to the administration of the Licensing of Pavement Cafés Act (NI) 2014, including setting Pavement Café Licence fees, agreeing the Standard Conditions to be attached to licences and amendments to the Scheme of Delegation to outline those matters that would be brought before the Licensing Committee for consideration.
He informed Members that, in June, a temporary process for considering pavement café applications had been introduced to assist the hospitality sector during the pandemic. The process included drafting temporary guidance for applicants, based on the Department for Communities guidelines, and supplementary guidance from the Licensing Forum Northern Ireland which had been produced when the Act came into force.
He advised the Committee that Councils may set 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.
He further advised that the supplementary guidance offered general advice around the hours of operation of pavement cafés to maintain consistency across Northern Ireland. It advised that pavement cafés should be licensed between 8.00 am and 11.00 pm and be reflective of the normal operating hours of the business. There had also been advice that, if the premises were licensed under the Licensing Order, a licence would not be issued beyond 11.30 pm, regardless of the additional operating hours that may apply to the premises.
He reported that the Council has now received a number of applications from premises with a Liquor Licence, where the hours applied for were not representative of the Council’s guidance document or the current requirements of the N.I. Executive. Some applicants had requested a later finishing time up to 1.00 am, although those applications had generally been submitted before the N.I. Executive requirement that licensed premises were to be closed by 11.00 pm.
The Building Control Manager informed the Members that under the current liquor licensing law, normal trading hours for licensed premises had been 11.30 am to 11.00 pm on weekdays, 12.30 pm to 10.00 pm on Sunday or Christmas Day.
He reminded the Committee that any application for an Outdoor Entertainments Licence would be issued under delegated authority with a latest finishing time of 11.00 pm and for any licensee that wished to provide outdoor entertainment later than 11.00 pm, such applications would be brought before the Licensing Committee for consideration.
Following discussion, Members agreed that the standard hours for which a Pavement Café licence may be permitted to operate would be set as 7.00 am to 11.00 pm, and to delegate authority to the Director of Planning and Building Control to grant any application for a pavement café licence to trade earlier or later than the standard times of 7.00 am to 11.00 pm.
The Committee further agreed that officers would provide a fortnightly report to Members with details of applications received for pavement café licenses.