Rules relaxed on outdoor smoking

Mike Gibson (left) and Richard Caunce, who are directors of the Toast cafe bar on Corporation Street

Mike Gibson (left) and Richard Caunce, who are directors of the Toast cafe bar on Corporation Street

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TOWN hall chiefs have scrapped smoking restrictions which were triggering rows among al-fresco diners.

Last year cafe and pub owners were ordered to allocate 75 per cent of any outdoor dining area to non-smokers.

But the ruling led to confrontations with customers who were unaware of the local rules.

Now Blackpool council has revoked the restriction which came into force in April 2010 when new licences for outdoor seating areas were introduced.

Coun Blackburn said: “We did this as we felt it was inconsistent with national policies, and because cafe and bar owners told us that enforcing it was problematic.

“It led to their staff getting into confrontational situations with customers who did not know, understand or agree with this curious quirk of the former administration and who, quite understandably, thought it was not for the council to ban smoking in the street.”

The move has been welcomed by traders.

Mike Gibson, of Toast on Corporation Street, Blackpool, said: “It was totally impossible to police and was confrontational on occasion. It was a policy which was totally unworkable.”

Simon Wrigley, of The Coffee Pot on Birley Street and No 5 in Cedar Square, said: “Customers just couldn’t understand why they couldn’t smoke outside and we had a lot of hassle from it.”

The council has recently put signs up banning smoking in the grounds of the Solaris in South Shore, but a spokesman said the rules would not be enforced in most areas even though the aim was to discourage smoking.