Video: Parisian-style café culture mustn’t hurt disabled citizens

SDLP councillor Angela Dobbins says developing a Parisian-style café culture in Derry is fine but not if it’s at the expense of people living with disabilities.

The councillor made the comments as Derry City and Strabane District Council set fees for on-street terraces at £460 under the new Licensing of Pavement Cafés Act (NI) 2014, which came into effect last October.

Under the new law the council has the power to grant licences to premises to set up street terraces.

Ms. Dobbins welcomed the roll-out but asked officers to produce a paper looking at issues around disabled access. Councillor Dobbins said it was particularly important wheelchair and guide dog users and parents with prams are not adversely affected by outdoor seating.

“What I’m trying to do is ensure that due consideration is given to those with disabilities, not only those that are wheelchair users but those who perhaps use a cane or a guide dog.

“They are obviously going to need a longer meterage between the screening of the pavement café and the footpath kerb.

“There’s nothing worse than having to ask people to move out onto the road to avoid tripping over somebody who’s having a cup of coffee,” she said.

All street café proposals must not hinder the reasonable use of the city’s footpaths by citizens, according to guidance.

At the council’s last monthly meeting officers agreed to examine these issues in a forthcoming paper on the new law.