‘Ridiculous,’ says one trader while a neighbour is delighted

Mixed reaction locally to street cafe licence plans

By Claire Tennyson

A SANDWICH shop owner has said street cafes are a “ridiculous theory” and a concept that will not work along the Lisburn Road.

Mark Taylor, owner of the Great Little Sandwich Company, was speaking after new street cafe licensing plans were announced by Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland.

New legislation will be introduced to allow cafes, restaurants and bars to place tables and chairs on the pavement for use by their customers.

Northern Ireland is currently the only part of the UK and Ireland without legislation covering street cafes.

Mark Taylor said: “I don’t agree with this idea of having street cafés in this area. The Lisburn Road is struggling at the minute and I think introducing this will make it more difficult for traders.”

He added: “So many coffee shops have closed recently and I think this would only add to the problems that traders are currently facing.”

Work began on drawing up legislation on the issue in 2009. The statutory scheme will enable district councils to licence suitable premises and charge a “reasonable fee”.

Councils will be given powers to enforce the new law and may remove existing outdoor cafe facilities in certain areas.

Mark added: “I do not agree that we have the weather here or the space on the Lisburn Road to enable us to accommodate this type of thing.

“The footpaths are uneven and it simply would not work along this stretch of road.

“I do not see it as a positive step forward and I honestly think it is a ridiculous theory.”

One cafe owner who is in favour of the new legislation is Kelly Tumelty from Maud’s on the Lisburn Road.

 

“I do not agree that we have the weather here or the space on the Lisburn Road to enable us to accommodate this type of thing.”

 

“I would welcome this new legislation and I feel it would bring a good vibe to the area,” she said.

“It is something we here at Maud’s would encourage and I feel that the area would lend well to it.”

Draft legislation is expected to be brought before the Assembly in the Autumn.

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said the arrangements were being put in place to ensure the “controlled expansion” of street cafes.

 

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