Dispute over 'enclosed' shisha bar Al Feena, in St George's Way, Leicester, set for court
One of Leicester's most prominent shisha cafes is facing prosecution under the smoking ban laws.
Leicester City Council is taking Al Feena, in St George's Way to court later this month.
Officials said the popular venue, which has been running for two years, falls foul of the legislation which said it had to be at least 50 per cent open to the fresh air.
The council said the premises, on the ground floor of the St George's tower complex, next to the inner ring road, is too enclosed to comply with the legislation.
Health and safety team manager Gov Mandora said: "It is effectively an underground car park with a shuttered front. It needs to be at least 50 per cent open."
Mr Mandora said he expected the case to go to Leicester Magistrates' Court on January 15.
He said the council had been in discussions with the business about changes it could make to fit in with the smoking laws but nothing had happened.
He said: "The prosecution is the very last resort.
"Our aim is not to shut the place down, but to get them to comply with the law, which is now more than five years old.
"The ultimate aim is to protect the health of the customers, as well as the staff who work in there and could be exposed to shish smoke for many hours at a time.
"We have had a discussion with them and suggested they could have smoking on the court yard at the front of the premises. Unfortunately, they have chosen not to listen so we have had to take them to task."
Mr Mandora said the council had commissioned an independent architect to demonstrate the premises did not comply with the 50 per cent rule.
He said the venue could face a £2,500 fine if found guilty at court.
Mr Mandora said the council had succeeded in every prosecution it had made of shisha establishments.
He said: "We are getting up towards double figures in cases and we haven't lost one.
"We also have another half dozen or so investigations going on which are at various stages."
A spokesman for Al Feena said: "We shall be contesting the court hearing."
He said: "We have invested £150,000 in the business and we would not have done that without securing all the relevant permissions."