Protest against Stony Stratford smoking ban proposal

image captionUKIP leader Nigel Farage said the ban could be the "final nail in the coffin" for Stony Stratford's pubs

About 200 people have attended a protest against plans to ban smoking in open places in a Buckinghamshire town, according to organisers.

Councillor Paul Bartlett has proposed a new by-law to outlaw smoking in any public place in Stony Stratford.

Among those who spoke against the ban was UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who said it could stop people coming to the town, affecting local businesses.

Town councillors were due to vote on Tuesday. The vote has been postponed.

If the plan is approved, smokers who light up in public in Stony Stratford could face on-the-spot fines.

Mr Bartlett has said the town, is "blighted by cigarette butts".

Some local publicans have said a total ban on smoking would have a huge impact on their trade and Mr Farage, who is an MEP for Buckinghamshire, echoed their views in a meeting at the Vaults Bar in the town.

He said: "We have already seen the horrific impact the smoking ban has had to the pub trade which has resulted in hundreds of pubs across the UK shutting down.

"If this new proposal in Stony goes through it will mean no more 'popping out for a smoke'.

"I have been listening to the concerns from the local business community and they believe that this will have a negative impact on the place.

"For local pubs it could well be the final nail in their coffin. For other businesses they feel people will simply stop coming to Stony."

The meeting was followed by a "mass light up" by smokers opposed to the proposed ban.

If Stony Stratford Town Council votes in favour of the scheme at Tuesday's meeting it would have to ask Milton Keynes Council to use its powers to introduce the necessary by-law.

If implemented, the ban would be enforced by police community support officers.

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