Historic pub told to tear down smoking area by Southend Council

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A smoking area put up by a popular pub in Leigh must be torn down within one month after it was added without permission.

The Peterboat pub on the High Street in Leigh first faced questions about the smoking shelter in November when the council received a complaint about it being built in the car park.

The following month, a series of negotiations took place between the pub owners and the council but after failing to reach a resolution, councillors voted on Wednesday afternoon for enforcement action.

Councillor Ashley Thompson (LibDem), who represents the Leigh ward, said: “As ward councillor for where this enforcement action is proposed, it is not unusual to have complaints from people who live in the vicinity about the licensed premises not living comfortably with the residents.

“It is normally due to noise but I can see there is aa visual element here and I will be supporting enforcement action.”

A council planning officer said there had been attempts to resolve the issue with the pub owners but “the only option open to the council is to serve an enforcement notice”.

Council documents explain that prior to meeting, the enforcement team wrote to the pub owners on December 4 saying that the shelter should be removed. The following day received a response to say it would be.

However, on December 20 it was still standing prompting the enforcement team to give another seven-day deadline but the owners responded, simply saying they “supported” the council and want to find the best solution.

Despite seeking independent planning advice, the council has limited contact with the owners since and wrote to them on January 8 to inform they would be seeking enforcement action.

It is noted in the documents that each time officers visited the site the shelter was not being used.

Peterboat records date back to 1757 and is home to a series of events such as the real ale, craft beer and cider festival, the Leigh folk festival and the Leigh regatta.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter