Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Should we ban smoking outdoors too in some areas?

Westminster Council has applied to extend the smoking ban for pubs and bars to outside the premises. Now I know this will attract all sorts of complaints about civil liberties and send the pro-smoking lobby into fits of apoplexy.... but... I have some sympathy with what the Council are doing. The Planning Inspectorate has overuled the wishes of the Council's planning committee and the objections of the overwhelming majority of local people in my Ward and allowed a planning application for an all-night casino in a residential street. The Planning Inspectorate ignored the fact that people will be coming and going in taxis and cars all bloody night, banging doors and shouting farewell to their mates. As from next year with the smoking ban in operation on the premises, the smokers will be congregating outside for a fag and a chat at all hours. Well, I think Sandwell Council need to consider whether we can apply for the same sort of ban. I wouldn't want to intefere with the running of businesses before, say midnight, but after that it seems perfectly sensible to say that in residential areas people should not be allowed to congregate outside and cause a nuisance to people who need their sleep.