A former pub beer garden looks set to be the next venue for a shisha house in Preston.
Planners have recommended consent be given for the New Ship Inn on Watery Lane, Ashton, to be turned into a shisha cafe with a smoking shelter in its beer garden.
An enforcement notice was served on the owners in March last year, after a smoking shelter was put up in a back yard without getting planning permission first.
The structure was partly taken down while they prepared an application but that was rejected by Preston Council’s planning committee in July last year.
Now the scheme has returned again, with planners recommending it gets the nod this time, subject to a list of conditions.
Applicant Asif Issa has scaled back the size of the shisha cafe, from 66 seats to 38, to try to address concerns.
Inside the pub would be used as a lounge and waiting area, while a semi-enclosed shelter would be built in the garden for those smoking shisha, a flavoured tobacco inhaled through a water pipe.
The cafe would be open from 3pm to 11pm seven days a week.
Four neighbours have objected to the idea, raising concerns about parking, noise and smoking fumes, and environmental health officers have asked music not be played outside the building.
But planners have advised councillors the cafe should not produce more noise than the pub did, as the outside area will now be part-enclosed.
They said: “Although objections have been raised from neighbours with regards to noise and disturbance, these have been assessed carefully and in detail, and the proposed use is in accordance with policies.”
The application should have been decided by planning officers under delegated powers but was called in to committee level by Coun Brian Rollo, to discuss the impact on residents.
The committee had previously deferred voting on the plans in January until March to allow more time to consult the applicant.
A letter from Mr Issa’s planning agents said: “Shisha forms an important part of the culutre and tradition of many residents of this part of Preston.
“The pub had amplified music till late but this will not be the case with this scheme.”