Pub wins back right to host under-18s

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BACK in May, Scottish Borders Licensing Board was so appalled at reports of underage drinking at a Galashiels pub that they banned the sale of alcohol on the premises for a month.

And councillors ordered that once that suspension was served, no customers aged under 18 should be allowed in any part of H20 in Overhaugh Street which has a main downstairs bistro area and a first floor function room.

But on Friday, despite protests from the police, the board relented on that condition and granted licensees Liugi and Paulo Crolla permission to entertain children (under 15s) and young people (aged 16 and 17).

But the youngsters will be restricted to the ground floor, must be accompanied by an appropriately-aged adult and be off the premises by 9pm.

As reported last week, that application was opposed by Inspector John Scott, of the police community safety team, who cited previous abuse of the board’s policy on children and young people and claimed five months [since the under-18 ban was introduced] was not sufficient to display management improvement.

However, he conceded a “dramatic” reduction of 78 per cent in antisocial behaviour incidents directly associated with the pub over that period.

And legal agents acting for H20 claimed the downstairs bistro business had suffered over the period of the ban.

Also on Friday, the board agreed variations to the licences at Marks and Spencer in Galashiels (to increase the alcohol display area from 36.9 to 41.9 metres squared), The Kings Arms in Melrose (to extend drinking hours from midnight to 1am on Friday and Saturday) and of the Exchange Inn in Jedburgh (hours extension to 1am on Saturday and midnight on Sunday).