Licensee builds bedroom to try and dodge smoking ban

By Eleanor Goodman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Public house, Nottinghamshire

A Nottinghamshire licensee is converting part of her bar into a bedroom in a bid to dodge the smoking ban.Dawn Clarke, licensee at the Old Ship in...

A Nottinghamshire licensee is converting part of her bar into a bedroom in a bid to dodge the smoking ban.

Dawn Clarke, licensee at the Old Ship in Lowdham, is constructing an extra bedroom so a patron can pay a nominal fee, fill in a guest registration form and 'invite' other guests inside to enjoy a cigarette.

Clarke holds a hotel licence because she already has letting rooms. She said: "There'll only be one bed in there, but there's no restrictions on how many people you can have in the bedroom, except obviously we have to respect fire regulations. I can't see any holes with my argument."

She said the council had visited and said it would only be a court that could say if she was breaking the 'spirit' of the law.

A spokesperson for Newark and Sherwood Council said: "We have visited the pub and spoken to the landlady. She has outlined her ideas and we have provided our opinion on these. Whether it is legal will depend on the detail of how the 'room' is constructed and operated. Clearly there are common criteria that apply to hotel rooms and there are other issues with regard to fire escapes and a bedroom opening onto a public bar. We are still in discussion with the landlady."

The room is being built for free by locals who disagree with the ban.

It is the latest in a line of countrywide attempts to beat the ban. A Southampton licensee last month tried to declare his pub a foreign embassy but failed. Elsewhere, licensees in London, Herefordshire and Blackpool are continuing to flout the ban and local authorities are yet to act.

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