Friday, 29 August 2008

Mr Watson Gets It…

A PUB landlord who put up a gazebo to provide shelter for smokers has been threatened with a £20,000 fine if he fails to take it down – because seven screws holding it to the ground means he needs planning permission.

Robin Watson put up the structure – which planners say is a marquee – at the back of the Shoulder of Mutton pub in York when the smoking ban came into force last year.
So, faced with a potential loss of trade, Mr Watson did his best to keep his customers happy while complying with the new law. Who could object to that? Step forward the local council:
The structure has been a hit with smokers at the pub in Heworth Green, although Mr Watson said trade has still dropped since the introduction of the smoking ban last July.

"We put the screws down one side to hold it down so it won't blow away but the council were claiming it was a permanent structure and said we had to take it down," he said.

"It just seems whatever we do we have somebody complaining about something.

"There has been a drop in trade but this is managing to keep us going. They haven't given us a reduction in council rates because of the smoking ban so I don't see why I need this."
Indeed, Mr Watson, it does look like no matter what you do, some local jobsworth has to stick his oar in. Welcome to the modern UK.
His case has been taken up by Yorkshire's Ukip Euro MP Godfrey Bloom, who said the demand was "absurd".

"Whatever happened to the British sense of compromise"
What indeed? That probably doesn’t meet EU requirements either…

5 comments:

patently said...

the council were claiming it was a permanent structure and said we had to take it down," he said.

Presumably, the act of taking it down will prove that it is not a permanent structure, and establish his right to re-erect it?

JuliaM said...

Would be nice to think so... ;)

Carl said...

"The council's planning enforcement team has written to the owner of the property asking them to take the structure down or apply for planning permission"

So he has to apply for planning permission like everybody else: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/new_fees-april_2008.pdf not a hardship really is it.

JuliaM said...

"..not a hardship really is it..."

For seven screws? Which are only there to prevent them whining should the structure be blown down in high winds?

Someone clearly has one loose, and I don't think it's Mr Watson...

wildgoose said...

And if it falls down in high wind and injures somebody because it had been insufficiently secured, does this mean that the Council will be taken to court by their own Health and Safety Department for wilfully endangering the public?

Oh no, silly me.

It'll just be another stick to beat us with.