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.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:
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.
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.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.
"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."
His case has been taken up by Yorkshire's Ukip Euro MP Godfrey Bloom, who said the demand was "absurd".What indeed? That probably doesn’t meet EU requirements either…
"Whatever happened to the British sense of compromise"