A pub landlady’s bid to beat the cigarettes ban by creating a “smoking research room” looks set to be foiled.
Kerry Fenton aimed to sidestep smoking regulations by designating a room at the Cutting Edge pub in Worsbrough, South Yorkshire, for smoking research.
She had been told customers would be able to smoke legally if they filled in a questionnaire on smoking habits.
Since adopting the practice, the number of customers has soared, but pub owner Punch Taverns wants her to stop.
Ms Fenton said that before introducing the smoking room last Friday only a handful of people came into the struggling pub at weekends.
Since opening the so-called research centre in the tap room the number of customers had jumped almost five-fold.
She told BBC News: “This is something we really had to do, I didn’t have a choice.
“We have had estate agents bringing people to actually view the property because it’s up for sale.”
The “loophole” relied on a close reading of The Smoke-Free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007, part of which includes conditions for research into smoking.
But Barnsley Council said it was due to visit the Cutting Edge to inform Ms Fenton she had “misunderstood the relevant legislation”.
A spokeswoman said: “An officer from Barnsley Council’s Regulatory Services department will visit the pub today [Wednesday] to advise the pub management that they have misunderstood the relevant legislation and that clearly the smoking research room is in breach of non-smoking legislation.
“The council will then monitor the situation before taking any further action that may be necessary.”
The pub’s owner, Punch Taverns, which has put the building on the market, said: “Punch has condemned the decision of our licensee to undertake this.
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