Number of shisha lounges in decline after Bradford Council clampdown (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Number of shisha lounges in decline after Bradford Council clampdown
7:00am Monday 14th October 2013 in News
The number of shisha lounges in the district has fallen by more than 40 per cent after a Bradford Council crackdown.
There are currently 10 known lounges in the district, a drop of seven since January last year, the authority has revealed.
Shisha lounges – where flavoured tobacco is smoked through pipes – are not illegal, but they must comply with the smoking ban, meaning at least half of the building must be permanently open.
While a senior Labour councillor said the drop showed the authority had “a better handle on the issue”, a Conservative councillor claimed the popularity of the “fad” was waning.
Officers conducted 36 inspections of the smoking lounges last year – nine times the number of checks carried out in 2011.
They also successfully prosecuted four businesses being run illegally, information released to the Telegraph & Argus under the Freedom of Information Act reveals.
But the figures also show that so far in 2013, there have been just five inspections and no prosecutions.
Councillor Andrew Thornton, executive member for the environment, denied the authority was getting complacent.
He said: “It’s not that we are taking our eye off the ball at all, that’s not going to be the case.
“It’s more that we’ve got a better handle on those operating legally and those who are not.”
Coun Thornton said the enforcement of the smoking ban in shisha lounges was something the Council took seriously.
He said: “It’s an area of great concern to us because there are some very significant health issues associated with shisha premises that are operating outside the regulations, in terms of the smoking ban. So clearly we want to make sure we ensure public safety for both visitors and staff who work in these premises.”
He said he was pleased at the progress that had been made.But he said the decline in the number of lounges could be caused by their waning popularity.
He said: “Shisha was a bit of a fad among young people in Bradford a few years ago. I think that fad has passed, particularly because of health worries.”
The figures show the number of businesses being prosecuted has stayed stable – at five in 2010, three in 2011 and four in 2012.
The authority revealed the lounges prosecuted in 2011 were Al-Qasa in Mortimer Street, Bradford, Felah’s in Great Horton Road, Bradford, Kream in Summerville Road, Bradford, and Unit 16 Gaming Lounge in Richmond Mills, Richmond Road, Bradford.