Landlord of Leeds pub stubs out smoking in beer garden

Licensee Scott Westlake in the beer garden at The Myrtle pub, where smoking is to be banned from June 1.
Licensee Scott Westlake in the beer garden at The Myrtle pub, where smoking is to be banned from June 1.
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A pub landlord in Meanwood is promising his beer garden will be a breath of fresh air for families in north Leeds after making it a smoke-free zone.

Scott Westlake has decided to take the controversial step of stubbing out smoking at the Myrtle Tavern’s beer garden in what is believed to be a first for Leeds.

We want to make sure the beer garden is a safe and smoke-free environment for children and parents alike.

Scott Westlake, landlord of the Myrtle Tavern

From June 1, smokers at the Parkside Road boozer will no longer be allowed to light up while supping a drink in the sun as part of his bid to make the pub more family-friendly.

It comes 10 years after smoking was made illegal inside pubs, clubs and other public buildings across England.

Scott told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “We’ve seen a huge increase in families with young children using the outdoor area and we want to make sure the beer garden is a safe and smoke-free environment for children and parents alike.

“It’s a decision that hasn’t been made lightly – we understand a lot of our customers do smoke – however, we feel it’s an important step in the right direction.”

The pub recently spent more than £100,000 to create a purpose-built play area next to the beer garden for children to use during the summer months.

The move also coincides with the launch of afternoon outdoor music concerts at the pub, which start this weekend.

On Saturday, a Little Mix tribute act will perform on a stage in front of the beer garden at 3pm.

Scott added: “The concert will no doubt attract a lot of children who are Little Mix fans so implementing the ban now will make sure everyone enjoys a smoke-free concert.”

He said there will still be a designated smoking area at the front of the pub.

In April, the government rejected plans to extend the smoking ban to outdoor areas over fears it could lead to pub closures.

The call for an outdoor ban was initially made by Haringey Council in North London, which said it was already in place in Canada and parts of South Australia.

The existing smoke free law was introduced in the UK on July 1, 2007, making it illegal to smoke in all public enclosed areas and workplaces.

The local council, rather than the police, are in charge of enforcing the legislation and can issue a fixed penalty fine of £50 to anyone caught flouting the rules.

Scott’s ban at the Mrytle Tavern has been welcomed by anti-smoking campaigners.

Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at public health charity ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), said: “It is a sign of the times that pubs now see commercial advantage in banning smoking outdoors when 10 years ago they were concerned the ban on smoking indoors might kill their business.

“It would be great to see more Yorkshire businesses following their lead.

“However, we would caution publicans about extending such bans to e-cigarettes.

“These are much safer alternatives to smoking and there is no evidence that they could harm bystanders.”