The number of applications made for pavement cafe licences to allow businesses across the entire ABC borough to serve food and drink outside their premises is five!
Armagh I can reveal that none of them are located in Armagh City with the five comprising of two cafes, two bar/restaurants and a hotel.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council agreed at the end of June to waive the fee involved to apply.
The idea was to allow businesses to be able to operate more appropriately within social distancing guidelines by trading outside. It was also to help those within the hospitality sector as they try to recover from long periods of closure as a result of Covid-19.
The decision to waive the fee was taken on June 30, when it was also decided to remove the application condition that formal planning consent is required before a pavement café application can be processed.
Since that time, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has received five applications.
Armagh I can reveal that only one of those to apply was from the former Armagh City and District Council area.
Tandra Tea, based at The Arcade at Market Street in Tandragee, put its name into the hat for a pavement cafe licence.
The others to have applied at this stage are the Safari Grill, at Newry Street, Banbridge, Schvargo Wine Bar, at High Street in Portadown, Café Together, Market Street in Lurgan, and the Ashburn Hotel, at William Street, also in Lurgan.
Council agreed to amend the consultation period with stakeholders to seven days to allow businesses to get up and running faster. But they must still display a 28-day notice at the premises stating that an application has been made for a licence.
Successful applicants will be issued with a temporary licence which will cover them up to December 2021. The normal procedure is for a three-year licence to be issued after consultations and a costly application fee is paid.
In submitting an application, businesses must provide an outline plan showing where the pavement cafe is to be located.
They must also take public liability insurance for the pavement cafe area.
Statutory consultations will be carried out with the Department of Infrastructure and the PSNI where a business is intending to sell alcohol as part of its pavement cafe operations. And it must be stressed that alcohol can only be served to accompany a meal.
All furniture, enclosures, canopies and ‘tap rails’ are to be removed and stored off the pavement at the end of trading.
Businesses wishing to apply must also provide evidence of a COVID-19 risk assessment which reflects social distancing and cleaning regimes in accordance with current government guidance.
A review in relation to the process will take place in September next year.
Elsewhere, eight applications have been received by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
None of those are in south Armagh or Newry, with Ye Old Ship Inn, Warrenpoint the only one outside Newcastle, Castlewellan and Ballynahinch.