Applying for an Encroachment Licence

Road reserve

On-street dining

‘On-street’, ‘footpath’, ‘outdoor’ or ‘alfresco’ dining refers to an area where seated diners can consume food and/or alcohol on a public footpath or road. The area must adjoin a premise that is licensed to sell food and/or alcohol. Before a business can provide on-street dining, you must get a licence from us first.

Where do these guidelines apply?

These guidelines apply to all local road reserve and state highway reserves in New Plymouth District that have a speed limit of 50km per hour or less. The guidelines may be applied to other Council-administered land that has similar characteristics.

In terms of these guidelines a ‘footpath’ is usually an area of road or state highway reserve land that is clear of the road and adjoins a property frontage. It also includes other Council administered areas shared by vehicles and pedestrians.

On-street dining encroachment licence

An encroachment licence is required before on-street dining may be established. The licence will specify operating conditions and include an annual lease or charge for the land occupied.

To obtain a licence you will need to prepare and lodge an application form.

We can help guide you through the feasibility and application stage to reduce processing times and delays. Please contact us to set up a meeting.

The issued licence will be personal to the licensee individual or business and contain conditions that must be met for the activity to continue.

A review condition will normally be included to enable the licence to be altered (or terminated in extreme circumstances) to provide for matters such as increased or changed pedestrian or traffic flows.

Where a business is sold, the new operators will need to apply for a new licence.

What to include with your application

Before lodging your encroachment licence application, make sure you have included the following:

1. A completed encroachment licence application form. 

2. The application fee.

3. A description of the activity.

  • The use of your premises, i.e. licensed or unlicensed café, restaurant or bar or takeaway food outlet.
  • Whether permanent or temporary – if temporary please specify duration.
  • The normal hours of use of the on-street dining area.
  • Whether or not the on-site consumption of alcohol is proposed in the on-street dining area.
  • The number of tables and seated diners proposed to be located on the footpath.
  • Confirmation that all of the structures (barriers, screens, umbrellas) are not fixed to the footpath or attached to street furniture or other equipment and will be removed when not in use.
  • A “Management Plan” for the activity (see example below). 

4. A site plan
To be drawn to a metric scale of 1:250 or larger showing:

  • The dimensioned width of your property frontage(s), the position and dimensioned width of the adjoining footpath measured from the frontage of your premises to the kerb face.
  • The dimensioned minimum clearance of the dining furniture relative any street furniture or utilities such as parking metres, signs, trees, utility boxes and poles or adjoining kerbs, street thresholds or pedestrian crossings.
  • The extent and location of any dining areas on adjoining frontages.
  • The position of proposed dining furniture including required screen enclosures, barriers, screens, blinds, shelters, planters, table and chairs and any footpath sign for the premises.
  • Size and location controls apply to footpath signs under the District Plan and Bylaws.
  • The location of a direct and unobstructed pedestrian access past or through the dining area. The width of this access is normally two metres.
  • To allow for continuity with the use, signage and structures adjoining the frontage of neighbouring properties.

5. Elevations 
Drawn to a scale of not less than 1:50 showing:

  • Design of furniture and the materials and colours used and any associated sign writing. Manufacturer’s information and photographs that provide the necessary degree of detail may be used.

6. Other information

  • Information addressing any issue(s) identified in your meeting(s) with us.
  • Evidence of adequate public liability insurance indemnifying the Council against any claim arising from damage caused by furniture, items or structures used in association with the dining area.

Once lodged, your application will be assessed and further detail or clarification may be sought. Remember, you will need to apply for an Alcohol Licence or Building Consent separately if needed.

Management plans

Your application will need to include a Management Plan for the on-street dining activity. This plan should detail the practical steps of how the licence responsibilities will be met on a day-to-day basis.

Example of a Management Plan - Footpath Dining Management Plan for the “Blue Orchid Café and Bar” – 79 Devon Street East, New Plymouth

Opening premises for the day

  • Staff will ensure that the dining furniture is sited within the licensed area in accordance with the license issued.
  • Staff will inspect furniture to ensure it is not damaged or in need of general repair or refurbishment. Damaged furniture that may create a hazard to people or property will not be used. Repair or refurbishment will be arranged as needed to maintain a high standard of presentation.

During hours of operation
Serving staff and manager will monitor the on-street dining area to:

  • Ensure that the dining activity, its customers, associated customer activity and furniture is contained within the licensed area.
  • Ensure that inappropriate behaviour is dealt with promptly using police assistance where necessary.
  • Ensure that the dining area is kept clean and tidy. This includes the prompt clearing and cleaning of tables and removal of any broken glassware. Premises waste disposal will be used for any litter.

At close of business each day

  • All on-street dining furniture will be removed from the footpath and the footpath cleaned as required. Premises waste disposal will be used for any litter.

Siting and establishment considerations for on-street dining

Here are some points to consider when you are thinking about applying for on-street dining outside your premise:

  • On-street dining will not normally be permitted adjacent to loading zones, bus stops and taxi ranks.
  • On-street dining will not normally be permitted where it would obstruct visibility between pedestrians and traffic or obstruct the free flow of pedestrians at pedestrian crossing points such as traffic lights, pedestrian crossings or raised thresholds.
  • At intersections, corners or significant vehicle footpath crossings, on-street dining areas will be required to be sited so that adequate sight lines are maintained for traffic. Council roading engineers will establish the sight lines with reference to the road design and type of traffic flow in the area. These sight lines will need to be identified prior to lodging an application for an on-street dining licence.
  • A two metre wide pedestrian aisle should be provided to enable direct pedestrian access to adjoining businesses.
  • A pedestrian thoroughfare less than two metres wide may be accepted. A review condition will usually be included should pedestrian traffic substantially increase.
  • In areas of high pedestrian counts, the on-street dining area or adjacent areas should provide a 1200mm wide pedestrian access from the pedestrian thoroughfare to the kerb every 7.5m. The licence holder is responsible for maintaining these required clearances at all times.
  • Where the parent premises has a resource consent, consideration will be given to the intent of any conditions that apply and whether the proposed on-street dining activity is consistent with those conditions.
  • Consideration will be given to the ability of the parent premises and site to effectively provide for the increased patronage that may result.
  • Evidence will usually be required of suitable public liability insurance covering the on-street dining activity.
  • The consumption of alcohol within the on-street dining area will require an alcohol licence or a variation of any current licence. The consumption of alcohol must not extend outside the alcohol licensed area. The intention to use an on-street dining area for alcohol consumption should be specified in the application.

Please note: The alcohol licence process is separate to the on-street dining licence process.

The illustration below gives a visual representation of how on-street dining may be carried out in accordance with the guidelines.

Status of previously established on-street dining areas

All existing on-street dining areas must have a licence in order to legally operate.

On-street dining that is operating in accordance with the conditions of an existing licence issued prior to the introduction of these guidelines in August 2012 may continue under the conditions of that licence.  In these situations we encourage licence holders to adopt these guidelines where the opportunity arises, for instance when furniture is replaced.

Most existing on-street dining licences are personal to the applicant business operator. This means that a change of ownership will require the new owner to apply for a licence. These guidelines will be applied to re-applications.

On-street dining host responsibilities

Conditions of the encroachment licence will cover host responsibilities. These conditions are likely to include the need to:

  • Ensure that the on-street dining activity is totally contained within the licensed area and pedestrian access remains unobstructed. In particular patrons should be encouraged to be seated to avoid groups that extend beyond the licensed area.
  • Be proactive to avoid furniture being blown over in windy conditions. This may include retracting umbrellas and taking furniture in.
  • Maintain the footpath and street in a clean and tidy condition. Clear all rubbish including broken glass, cigarette butts and other matter generated in association with the on-street dining activity. Street litter bins or kerb channels cannot be used to dispose of rubbish.
  • Maintain and position furniture so that it does not present a danger to pedestrians or cause damage to vehicles and is of a tidy appearance.
  • Monitor patron behaviour and take action where it is socially unacceptable.

Your application will need to include a Management Plan for the on-street dining activity that details the practical steps of how the on-street dining encroachment licence responsibilities will be met on a day-to-day basis. An example of a Management Plan that you may adapt is included in the checklist.