Innerleithen social club given go-ahead to open later and let children in

Youngsters at Vale of Leithen Social Club on Saturday, the day after councillors agreed to plans to let them in.
Youngsters at Vale of Leithen Social Club on Saturday, the day after councillors agreed to plans to let them in.

An Innerleithen social club’s bid for extended opening hours and to allow children on the premises has been given the thumbs-up despite objections by community councillors there.

Vale of Leithen Social Club has been given the go-ahead by Scottish Borders Council’s licensing board to sell alcohol until 1am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and until midnight the rest of the week.

That approval was granted last Friday despite Innerleithen Community Council objecting to the proposal.

Its secretary and vice-chairperson, Ruth Kerr, wrote to the board saying: “We don’t see a need to extend the hours to 1am on a Thursday.

“We don’t see a need for any extension of hours.

“Midnight Sunday to Wednesday seems excessive.

“They already have quite extensive opening hours, and we don’t feel the activities they are going to promote really warrant midnight and 1am licences.”

The social club was represented at last Friday’s meeting by chairman Paul Graham and steward Angus McPherson.

In a statement to councillors, Mr Graham said: “We’re really trying to future-proof the club.

“We recently renovated out kitchen and at some point we hope to introduce food into the organisation.

“We have a lot of local organisations that use the premises, like pipe bands and silver bands, and they have a lot of children involved with them, but we can’t let them in.

“Going forward, we’d like members to be able to bring their families in and to enjoy food there.

“We also get requests for children’s birthday parties which we’ve had to turn down.

“We’re just looking to the future and trying to ensure that the business survives.”

Tweeddale East councillor Robin Tatler said: “What I find interesting about the objection from the community council is that I can’t see any discussion about this in the minutes of their meetings, and when I’ve attended the council I’ve not heard it being raised, so I’m not sure where this has come from.

“I think that the Vale of Leithen Social Club is a very well-used community asset, and I don’t see any reason not to support this.”

Councillors voted unanimously to grant the variations requested to the Innerleithen Road club’s licensing conditions.

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