Smoke free legislation
On 1 of July 2007 virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England became smoke free.
The Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations follow the model for defining "enclosed" and "substantially enclosed" premises as set out in Scotland's smoke-free regulations and these will follow through into the Smoke-free (General Provisions) Regulations 2007.
These are to be defined as:
Enclosed premises - Premises will be considered to be enclosed if they have a ceiling or roof and, except for doors, windows or passageways, are wholly enclosed, whether on a permanent or temporary basis.
Substantially enclosed premises - Premises will be considered to be substantially enclosed if they have a ceiling or roof, but there are openings in the walls which are less than half of the total area of walls, including other structures that serve the purpose of walls and constitute the perimeter of the premises. When determining the area of an opening, no account can be taken of openings in which doors, windows or other fittings can be opened or shut.
For this regulation, "roof" includes any fixed or moveable structure or device which is capable of covering all or part of premises as a roof. This would include retractable canvas awnings.
With the introduction of the smoke-free Legislation, places of employment, including pubs and clubs may consider the provision of facilities for smokers. It is important that businesses realise that planning permission may be required for such facilities.
Establishments will not be obliged to provide outdoor areas for smoking (and Manchester City Council would not encourage them to do so) but if they do, planning permission may be required.
Applications and proposals for extending outdoor drinking or smoking areas to facilitate smokers will be subject to the following considerations:
Additional movement and activity during the daytime and evening periods
Visual impact of new structures in terms of their height, scale and massing and relationship to their setting and surrounding context.
(It is important to recognise that each development will be treated on its merits and that there will be no 'one size fits all' policy)
Lighting in terms of its positioning, glare and potential disturbance in relation to neighbouring uses, particularly residential uses.
Consideration also needs to be given to the 'sustainability' of such lighting, e.g. energy efficiency
Security and crime reduction, i.e. the provision of measures, including CCTV cameras to ensure the safe and secure management of external areas and the prevention of anti-social behaviour and crime
It is important to note that the desire to provide a shelter for smokers does not outweigh significant issues arising from one or any of the above.
Requirements for planning permission
Instances where planning permission may be required include:
- the erection of shelters
- the erection of canopies and awnings
- bins fixed to buildings
- lighting fixtures
- increasing or extending the use of land
This is not an exhaustive list but it tries to identify the main areas where a planning application is likely to be required.
In addition to a planning application, listed building consent may be required if works are required to a listed building or within the curtilage of one. Advertisement consent may also be required for associated signage.
Anybody wishing to carry out works to a premises or on land within the curtilage are advised to contact the Planning service. Pre-application discussions are encouraged to avoid the submission of inappropriate proposals.
The City Council will pursue formal Enforcement Action under the planning legislation where structures are erected without the necessary permission and where they do not accord with the Council's adopted policies. In some cases, Listed Building Consent may also be required and the City Council will actively pursue prosecution for unauthorised alterations to a Listed Building.
In terms of signage, although the proposed regulations set a minimum requirement for no-smoking signage in premises, any signage displayed will need to meet with the restrictions in the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 and the City Council will pursue prosecution where the signage is deemed to be unauthorised by these regulations and where it is considered unacceptable.