Published: 10:36, 07 March 2019
| Updated: 10:55, 07 March 2019
A new bar and shisha lounge is set to open next to a popular nightclub in a town centre.
The former Kent Arms in Station Road, Ashford, has been empty since 2017 after the Breeze Bar closed.
But it is now due to reopen as The Otto Bar and Shisha Lounge after plans were approved by Ashford Borough Council.
The bar sits next to Papa Johns and the Cameo nightclub.
It will be the second shisha site to open in the town after Shisha Clouds opened in New Rents almost three years ago.
An extending roof will be built over the existing garden area, which will provide a 'covered area' for the shisha area.
The owner plans to install flat roof lights, a fibreglass roof and concealed gutters to construct the outbuilding.
Environmental concerns, including potential for noise and smoke odour, were raised by the council.
But writing on the application, a planning officer said: "There is potential for some affects on nearby residents.
"However, given that the shelter is situated within the existing pub garden, I do not consider that the proposal would result in noise and disturbance which would alter significantly from the existing situation.
"The proposed shelter is single storey and due to the lower level of the site than the surrounding buildings and highway, which will create a barrier to the site, the proposal does not create an adverse impact on the neighbouring uses."
The site was formerly occupied by The Kent Arms for more than 50 years.
Greene King took over the pub and re-named it the Fat Fiddler in the early 1990s.
In 2011, it was converted into the Ashford Business Centre and wine bar called Platform 5.
The Breeze Bar was the last business to occupy the site and moved out of the premises in 2017 after spending less than a year in the building.
A date for the opening of the new bar has not yet been confirmed.
Shisha is a practice which dates back more than 500 years and originates from Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt and Turkey.
It is a way of smoking flavoured tobacco, which is usually burned using charcoal and filtered using a pipe and water.
The user then inhales the smoke, and the average session can last up to an hour.
Shisha lounges are becoming increasingly popular across England, particularly in London, with many people using it as a social activity by sharing their shisha pipe and flavours around a table.
The lounges have also proved popular in university towns across England and Wales.
In July 2007, smoking in enclosed public places such as bars and restaurants was made illegal in the UK.
Shisha lounges therefore must comply with the Health Act which ensures all shisha smoking and waterpipes are used in open-air locations.
To view the application online visit www.ashford.gov.uk and search for reference 18/01853/AS.