Illegal Shelter

Posted 30th April 2019 by Dave Cross
Stereo Bar 33, a nightclub and previous an e-hookah/ shisha lounge in Northampton, has been attacked by local officials for breaching planning regulations. The shelter it built for vapers and smokers offers too much protection to the environment, according to local government officials.

The nightclub opened up as a venue for people who liked to combine a night of loud music with the use of e-hookah/shisha products. Located in the Bridge street area of Northampton, the venue caters for up to 350 customers and runs from 6pm to just gone midnight.

The treatment of vaping and similar products has been left open to the discretion of venue managers, although smoking has been banned from premises. Stereo Bar 33 constructed an external facility, wooden decking and seven feet tall with walls and sofas, that offered decent all-weather protection in its courtyard.

The local council environmental health department has declared that the structure breaches planning regulations because it is more than 50% enclosed. This means that it fails to comply with UK smoke free laws.

Mrs Alex Gatrix, an environmental health officer, added that Stereo Bar 33 failed to notify the council and apply for planning permission. He said: “In its current form, the structure will fail to comply with current smoke free legislation. If the smoking shelter is more than 50 per cent enclosed, which Stereo 33's new area is, then it does not comply with smoke free legislation and smoking cannot be permitted.”

The council became aware of the issue when Stereo Bar 33 applied to have the council sign off on the new structure after it had been completed. Alex Gatrix says the council has rejected this application and will now hold a public consultation to seek the opinions of the club’s neighbours.

Northampton Borough Council’s planning board will consider the new application later this month and will instruct Stereo Bar 33 to pull it down if it is not approved.

Reviewing Stereo Bar 33 on Google, Dannielle McDowell reckoned “If you love house/techno music then this is the place to be!” but Local Guide Jude N thinks it’s “Absolutely ridiculous. Annoying.”

This encapsulates an important issue surrounding vaping. As ex-smokers, considerate vapers need to be treated separately from smokers and not forced to share the same shelters if they aren’t allowed to vape inside. Public Health England recently asked employers and business owners to embrace vaping to help combat smoking-related disease.

Stereo Bar 33 was unavailable for comment.

 

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 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker