Dublin City Council Waives All Street Furniture Fees Until End of 2022
Outdoor seating areas can be considerably valuable to restaurants, cafés and bars and often play a key role in attracting customers. Moreover, the importance of outdoor seating areas for such businesses has increased dramatically over the past year in light of the public health measures resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and it is clear that they will be playing a key role in the hospitality sector’s offering over the upcoming months.
Depending on the ownership of the land on which the outdoor seating area is to be placed, a licence from the relevant city or county council may be required. Where the outdoor seating area is to be located on public land, such as a footpath, a Street Furniture Licence (or similar licence / permit) will be required. This licence grants permission to put tables and chairs on the footpath outside the premises and will usually incur fees.
However, in an effort to assist hospitality businesses offering outdoor dining facilities, Dublin City Council has now announced that it has decided to waive all street furniture fees until the end of 2022. Other local authorities have also decided to waive street furniture fees for varying periods. You should make enquiries with your local authority to ascertain what fees (if any) are currently payable for street furniture licences.
Dublin City Council Temporary Covid Street Furniture Permits
Dublin City Council is also currently offering Temporary Covid Street Furniture Permits (“Temporary Permits”) as an alternative to Street Furniture Licences specifically to assist hospitality businesses reopening in the midst of the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such Temporary Permits are similar to Street Furniture Licences in that they grant permission for the placement of street furniture outside a premises serving food or intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises. The process of applying for and being a granted a Temporary Permit is intended to be quicker and more streamlined than with Street Furniture licences. Temporary Permits are issued free of charge and are valid for six months.
Dublin City Council Street Furniture Guidelines
Dublin City Council has recently published a helpful brochure on Street Furniture Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) which contains further information on Temporary Permits and is available here. The Guidelines outline some frequently asked questions, the application procedure for Temporary Permits, the general conditions applicable to Temporary Permits and the Dublin Fire Brigade Fire Safety and Operational Requirements.
The Guidelines highlight that, in some cases, hospitality businesses will be permitted to use parking spaces and/or loading bays in front of their businesses for street furniture. However, each application will be assessed individually to see if the particular parking spaces and/or loading bay can be suspended and agreement with adjoining businesses may also be required for such applications.
Compton Solicitors are currently preparing a guide to outdoor seating areas for your business, which will issue shortly and will take account of all the latest developments. This guide will be published on the publications section of Compton Solicitors’ website once available.
This document is intended to provide a general overview and guidance on a particular topic. It is provided wholly without any liability or responsibility on the part of Compton Solicitors and does not replace the necessity to obtain specific legal advice.