Plans for Preston’s first purpose built shisha cafe get the green light from council planners

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A purpose built shisha café - potentially one of the city’s first - has moved a step closer to becoming a reality after receiving a thumbs-up from council planners.

The owners of the Smoke & Grill restaurant are behind the plans which will see the new facility built in their adjacent car park.

It is considered that the proposed use of the car park as an ancillary shisha café would complement the existing café use and would support the role of the city as the largest retail, commercial and service centre.

The Walker Street establishment opened its doors in January after a £100,000 investment and boss Munna Bhai Tailor now has the option to expand after receiving the planning approval. The businessman has previously spoken about making the location the “heartbeat” of the area, aimed primarily to cater for the nearby student population.

Shisha cafés - a common sight across the Mediterranean, north Africa and Asia - are becoming increasingly visible in the UK in recent years and offer customers a chance to sample fruit-flavoured tobacco from communal glass-bottomed pipes.

Their growing popularity has seen health experts warn users that it does pose a health risk and should not be seen as “safe smoking”.

The Walker Street café would be open between 11am and 11pm but its licence will not allow the use of amplified music.

According to documents submitted to the town hall, officers concluded the development would meet city centre requirements.

A report read: “It is considered that the proposed use of the car park as an ancillary shisha café would complement the existing café use and would support the role of the city as the largest retail, commercial and service centre.”