SHISHA BARS WARNED: NO SMOKING INCLUDES SHISHA PIPES / ‘BEDS IN SHEDS’ EXTENSION DEMOLISHED AFTER COUNCIL CRACKDOWN
The owner of a chain of shisha bars must pay fines and costs totalling more than £8,500 for allowing customers to smoke the exotic pipes inside three of his four premises on repeated occasions.
Cllr Hamida Ali, Croydon’s cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, said: “Many people smoke shisha believing it to be a safe alternative to cigarettes.
“Sadly, this isn’t the case. “Some experts believe the volume of smoke inhaled in an hour-long shisha session is about the same as smoking between 100 and 200 cigarettes.
“Those concerns aside, the law clearly states that smoking – of any kind – is not permitted in enclosed public buildings.
“This man appears to have been doing little to discourage the smoking in his various premises despite having had a number of warnings from our officers.
“I hope that other owners of shisha bars take heed of this case and realise they should resist pressure from customers who insist on being allowed to smoke inside. If they fail to do so, they will face the full weight of the law.”
The owner of the chain of shisha bars was found guilty in his absence by Croydon magistrates on 1 August of seven counts of allowing smoking in enclosed premises.
Returning to court on Tuesday (22) he was fined £1,000 for each of the seven offences, and ordered to pay legal costs of £1,462.77 and a £100 victim surcharge, totalling £8,562.77.
Shisha – believed to have originated in India, Persia or Turkey – is a glass-bottomed water pipe in which fruit-flavoured tobacco is covered with foil and roasted with charcoal. The sweetened tobacco smoke passes through a water chamber and is inhaled deeply and slowly.
The court heard that a standard letter had been sent to all shisha businesses in March 2016. The letter provided clear guidance to help businesses understand the requirements set out in the Health Act 2006 and The Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulation 2006. A guidance note accompanied the letter.
Following the letter and guidance note, visits were made by officers from the council’s food safety team, including one to the defendant, who was reminded of his legal responsibility to ensure that no smoking of shisha pipes took place inside fully enclosed premises.
In January, officers responding to complaints from members of the public, visited one branch in Norbury. There, they saw a number of people smoking inside the café. They also noted that two patio heaters – designed for external use – were alight inside the premises.
A letter sent to the owner in February, once again reminding him of the legislation around smoking in enclosed premises, was followed by three visits to three branches including Norbury where, on each occasion, customers were witnessed smoking shisha.
On a further visit – this time to another branch – officers spoke to the duty manager after seeing smokers enjoying shisha inside the café. He was told to ask the smokers to go outside, to the covered seating area, and was given a letter asking the owner to attend a formal interview.
Despite that a further visit in May revealed yet more smokers inside one café.
The owner attended the interview, on 19 May. On 31 May, smokers were once again witnessed inside the one branch. (Source: Croydon council press release)
‘BEDS IN SHEDS’ EXTENSION DEMOLISHED AFTER COUNCIL CRACKDOWN
A rogue landlord has been forced to demolish an unauthorised extension in his back yard after a council investigation uncovered it was being used as flats.
The man built the structure behind his Forest Hill takeaway business without planning permission. Notices were served against this, plus two storage buildings to the rear and the change of use to a house in multiple-occupation above the takeaway.
When council officers investigated they discovered the extension was being used as three separate flats, all under 20sqm in size and including bathrooms and kitchenette. One flat looked like up to three people were living in it.
Cllr Mark Williams, Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “Making sure we have affordable housing for people in the borough is one of the council’s top priorities, but this does not mean we will turn a blind eye to unauthorised, poor quality and potentially dangerous ‘beds in sheds’ structures.
“Southwark council will investigate, and if necessary prosecute, any landlords who are found to be renting out these types of properties.” (Source: Southwark council press release)