Customers criticise Stevenage pub’s outdoor smoking ban


- Credit: Archant

Customers have criticised a pub’s decision to implement a smoking ban in front of its premises.

The Standing Order, a JD Wetherspoon pub in Stevenage Old Town, brought in a smoking ban on its front terrace earlier this month.

Lynn Arthur, a regular visitor with her husband Ron, said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous. You used to be able to sit outside on a nice day with a cigarette but now, even when no-one else is around, they won’t allow it - even with smoke wafting over from the pub next door.

“They still allow us to smoke down the side of the pub but it gets like a wind tunnel down there and completely blocks out all the sunlight – I just can’t see the point.”

Steve Blackie, who regularly visits the pub with a group of eight friends, thinks the measure is unnecessary and inconsistent.

He said: “I can understand why they might not want people to smoke out there - it gives non-smokers somewhere to sit outside on a nice evening.

“But my friends and I are always there during weekdays when hardly anyone else is around. A group of eight or nine of us are always in there and we have never had any trouble just popping out to the front for a quick cigarette before now. More than anything it’s just the way the situation has been handled by the management that’s upset us – we feel like we risk getting barred just for questioning the rules.

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“Even after the ban was introduced I have seen people smoking out the front and not a word being said about it – we feel like we’re being singled out or perhaps they just don’t want our clientele. I could understand if it was The Ritz but it’s not.”

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “The Standing Order has a small non-smoking area to the side of the pub. This allows customers and families that don’t smoke an external area for them to enjoy a meal smoke-free.

“The pub has not made the entire external area non-smoking. There are a total of 14 tables for our patrons to enjoy outside. We welcome everyone onto our pub premises and do not descriminate against either smokers or non-smokers.”