Primary school’s alcohol bid slammed by licensing officer

St Margaret's RC Primary School in Galashiels.
St Margaret's RC Primary School in Galashiels.
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Scottish Borders Council’s licensing board is being urged to reject applications for bars selling booze at two Galashiels Halloween parties for children.

The police and licensing standards officer Ian Tunnah have lodged objections to both bids to be considered when the board meets at Newtown tomorrow.

The first of the events will be held at St Margaret’s RC Primary School on Friday, October 28, from 7pm until 9pm.

In her submission, applicant Nicola Douglas says an attendance of around 80 is expected – and half of those will be children aged under 15.

However, she stresses that the proposed bar for the adults will be in the school kitchen, next to the gym hall where the party, featuring a disco and games, will take place, and no children will be permitted into the bar area.

Despite that assurance, Mr Tunnah is urging councillors to refuse the application, citing the board’s adopted policy statement aimed at protecting children from harm.

The policy states: “The board accepts many fundraising and community events benefit from granting an occasional licence but would expect any organisation considering applying to take into account whether or not it is appropriate to have the sale of alcohol forming part of the event with particular regard to the licensing objective of protecting children from harm.

“This should be particularly considered for child-centred events related to school, youth or sporting organisations.” Mr Tunnah comments: “This event could well be such a child-centred event.

“To grant a licence for such an event would be contrary to the board’s policy statement.”

The same policy is cited by the police in their objection to the school’s application.

The board will also consider a bid from the MacArts Centre in Galashiels.

It wants an occasional drinks licence to cater for a Halloween-themed family event billed as a rave, organised by independent franchise Big Fish Little Fish, on Saturday, October 29, from 2pm until 4.30pm.

It will be the second visit to the venue for the organisers after they failed in a previous attempt to get an alcohol licence for a similar event in July.

The police, Mr Tunnah and Tim Patterson, the region’s director of public health, have all lodged objections.

With or without the licence, the ticketed and stewarded event – aimed at adults from the clubbing generation and children aged under eight – will still go ahead.