An Earlston fish-and-chip shop is to be allowed to stay open later at night despite opposition from neighbours fearful of a rise in anti-social behaviour.
Alfonso and Antonietta Crolla, want to extend the opening hours of their business, Alfonso’s in Earlston High Street, by 45 minutes on Fridays and Saturdays and by half an hour the rest of the week.
However, nearby residents have raised concerns about revellers urinating in the street and vomiting onto windowsills after using the takeaway.
One objector says that patrons of the chip shop urinate on their doorstep, and another complained of late-night revellers vomiting into their plantpots.
A third objector has raised concerns over boy-racers’ revving their engines and slamming car doors after visiting Alfonso’s late at night.
Councillors have ruled that the chippy is not responsible for anti-social behaviour by its customers nearby, however.
At a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s civic government licensing committee held on Friday, September 20, councillors heard that the business has been licensed since 2007 and no concerns had been raised about it in the 12 years since then.
Mrs Crolla told the committee: “I don’t understand the logic of the complainants as I don’t see how we are to blame for the things they are complaining about.
“People urinating in the street and the boy-racers problem are not our fault.
“When they come up for food, they are probably intoxicated. I don’t know if they are saying that it is our food that is making them sick, but the problem arises from people being full of drink, and I’m not sure how we’re to blame for that.
“The objectors live on a main street. I don’t see how that is our fault.
“We pay for the late-night catering licence but we don’t actually use it throughout the whole year. We only operate late at night during the summer when there are more tourists and events.
“We also have hundreds of people coming from the hospital who haven’t had a chance to eat all day, so if we’re open they can get something.”
Hawick and Hermitage councillor David Paterson agreed, saying: “I’m looking at the complaints here, and a lot of them should be levelled at the police.
“If there’s such a big problem here, should they not be phoning them?
“To the people saying the civic week and sevens tournament weekend is a living hell, I’d say I live on a main road and a lot of the same things happen at those times of year, but it isn’t really that bad.
“I think it’s just people complaining for the sake of complaining.”
Tweeddale East councillor Robin Tatler added: “A lot of these issues should be raised with local councillors.
“I don’t think these are connected with the running of the chip shop.”
Police representatives confirmed they had no objection to the application for longer opening hours, also stating that, in their view, any antisocial behaviour nearby is not attributable to the takeaway.
Currently, the takeaway closes at 11.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays and at 11pm on other days, but its new opening hours will see it close at 12.15am and 11.30pm respectively.
Additionally, the business will stay open until 1am during July’s Earlston Civic Week and when the town’s annual rugby sevens tournament is held in May.