Causeway Coast and Glens councillors have backed a Department of Social Development proposal to bring the Licensing of Pavement Cafes Act into operation in April next year.
The proposed legislation was discussed at a meeting of the Environment Services Committee in Coleraine last week.
Director for Environment Services Aidan McPeaktold councillors: “From 1st April 2016 the licensing scheme will allow owners of cafés, restaurants, pubs, or other premises selling food or drink, to apply to their local council for a pavement café licence.
“At present there are no regulations in place and that causes problems for pedestrians and bikes getting through in particular cases.
“There is an acknowledgement that pavement cafes have their place and can bring a cafe culture and a positive effect to our environment and can be a tourism driver but they must be well regulated and that is set up in such a way that we can regulate it in such a way without impacting on pedestrians.”
The Act places an onus on council to grant a licence unless it has a good reason to refuse an application or to remove facilities at unlicensed pavement cafés.
A number of new offences will also be included.
Councillor George Duddy proposed that the implementation of the act proceed and this was seconded by councillor Richard Homes before being approved by committee members.