Consultation has now closed

Consultation on the Outdoor Dining Policy review has now closed. People were able to provide feedback from 7 August to 28 August 2023.

During this time, we heard from 61 individuals and groups. You can read their feedback and find out how this influenced the Council decision.

Staff will reach out to licensees to provide more details about the next steps and explain how the transition to the new policy will look.

The draft policy is easier to understand and aims to meet the modern needs of cafés, restaurants, and the wider community.

Why we need a new policy

We currently have two outdoor dining policies that date from 1998 and 2006 and are no longer fit for purpose. The current rules are tricky for businesses to understand and do not support Council’s priority for creating smoke and vape-free public places. Additionally the new policy seeks to ensure that all pedestrians and those using mobility devices, such as wheelchairs, are able to move through and around outdoor dining areas.

We’re replacing the two outdated policies with one single Outdoor Dining Policy that’s more user-friendly and aligns better with our related bylaws and policies.

The Draft Policy requires:

  • That outdoor dining areas are accessible for pedestrians of all ages and abilities including users of mobility devices.
  • Licensees to display smokefree and vapefree signage and to remove ashtrays or other receptacles for smoking or vaping litter.
  • An accessible pathway alongside outdoor dining areas on the footpath, consistent with Waka Kotahi guidance.
  • Licensees to manage all waste and litter associated with their outdoor dining activity.
  • A defined term for licences (of up to three years) rather than the current open-ended term.

We will also simplify the application process for businesses to apply for a licence by developing new online forms in plain English.

Most outdoor dining takes place on private land – this policy only applies to outdoor dining activities that take place on open public space like roads, footpaths, and parks.

Draft guidelines and standard conditions

The policy will be supported by new Outdoor Dining Guidelines, which provide guidance on best practice for the design and operation of outdoor dining areas, along with the standard conditions attached to licences.

Next steps

After consultation closes, a hearings panel will consider all written submissions. Any submitters wishing to be heard can speak to the panel about their submissions. Following hearings, the panel will then deliberate and make decisions on the final policy to recommend to the Council for adoption. It’s expected the new policy will be in place by the beginning of 2024.