Guidance on smoking shelters

Some businesses may consider providing smoking shelters for their staff and customers to use. These structures will need to comply not only with the Smokefree Regulations but also planning, noise, licensing and building control legislation.

I want to provide a permanent smoking shelter for my staff and customers - what should I do?

1. Planning permission

Contact our Planning Services for their advice and the necessary forms to apply for planning approval, because in most cases any permanent structure that is built for smoking will need planning permission.

Please see our planning web pages for guidance on the planning permission process, the necessary application forms, and contact details.

2. Building Regulations

Check to see if the shelter will need Building Regulation approval. In most cases, provided the shelter is detached and of a modest size, no Building Regulation permission will be needed.

But if the floor area of the shelter is greater than15m², there may be restrictions if the shelter is within one metre of a boundary. Any shelter over 30m² will need Building Regulation approval.   Also contact Building Control if your intended shelter is to be attached to another building.  

3. Make sure it's legal!

To avoid a costly mistake, carefully check that the design of your smoking shelter will comply with the requirements of the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006.

To comply with these Regulations the smoking shelter must not be wholly enclosed, or substantially enclosed. In practice this means your smoking shelter must not have sides, including doors, windows or other fittings that can be opened or shut, that enclose more than 50% of the shelter.

4. Location, location

Carefully consider where you're going to put your shelter. Things you'll need to consider:

  • Could noise from people using the smoking shelter cause problems to people in neighbouring properties?
  • Could there be light pollution to people in neighbouring properties if the shelter has lights for night time use?
  • If the shelter is built with one of the open sides against a wall or a solid fence, it may not comply with the 50% rule.
  • Is the proposed location of the shelter safe for users? This could be a problem if the shelter has to be built in a car park.
  • Could the location cause problems with smoke entering nearby buildings through windows or vents?

Is planning approval required to use a parasol, jumbrella or a gazebo as a smoking shelter?

Parasols, jumbrellas and gazebos may not need planning approval if it can be shown that putting them up doesn't involve any building operations (and therefore not development), but always consult Planning Services first.

If you're considering using a parasol, jumbrella or gazebo as a smoking shelter, you should consider the points mentioned in the list above, and also the following additional ones:

  • Is the material used fire retardant? 
  • Is it strong enough so it won't collapse on top of people who may be using it in windy weather?
  • Is it secured so that it will not blow away?
  • If you're going to use a gazebo, does it have fold down sides? If it does, it may not comply with the 50% rule.

Can customers drink in the smoking shelter?

Only if the existing premises/club licence permits drinking outside on the licensed premises - for example in a pub garden. Licensees that want to include a smoking shelter in their premises/club licence may apply for a variation to their existing licence.  Please see the Licensing section web pages for contact details.

For more information on the 50% rule please contact the Council's Smokefree Officer.

Address: Environmental Services, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton On Sea, Essex, CO15 1SE
Telephone: 01255 686767

Last updated on: 21/11/2022 - 16:45