Neighbours objecting to Earlston fish-and-chip shop’s bid to open later

Alfonso's fish-and-chip shop in Earlston High Street.
Alfonso's fish-and-chip shop in Earlston High Street.

Earlston High Street residents are objecting to plans by a takeaway there to extend its opening hours, fearing that would lead to a rise in littering and antisocial behaviour.

Alfonso Crolla, owner of Alfonso’s fish-and-chip shop, wants to extend its opening hours by 45 minutes on Fridays and Saturdays and by half an hour the rest of the week.

His takeaway currently shuts at 11.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays and at 11pm on other days, but his proposals would see its closing times put back to 12.15am and 11.30pm respectively.

On top of that, Mr Crolla wants to keep his business open until 1am during Earlston Civic Week each July and when the town’s annual rugby sevens tournaments is held in May. 

However, nearby residents have raised concerns over revellers urinating in the street and vomiting on windowsills after using the takeaway. 

One anonymous objector has written to Scottish Borders Council, saying: “The sevens and civic week are a living hell on the main street, and it’s a little bit of comfort knowing that when the chip shop closes things quieten down, but extending the opening time will mean we have to endure it for many hours more. 

“Customers sit on my doorstep to eat their tea, which disturbs my family, and the dogs are constantly barking as they can hear people on the doorstep.

“Food waste and papers are left on my step or, worse, people use the doorway as a toilet. 

“My windowsill is used to leave chip-wrappers on, and my plantpots have been vomited in, resulting in my plants being killed off.”

Another objector says: “There is excessive noise late at night. People buy their food and sit in their cars under our bedroom window with the engine running, especially in winter. 

“This would wake us up at an even later hour than it already does now due to revving motors, loud music and slamming doors.

“Unsociable behaviour during the sevens weekend seems to be a rite of passage for our young people to get very drunk and throw their food wrappers over our property, urinate in groups up against our gates and house and to exhibit raucous behaviour such as fighting under our bedroom window. 

“Many residents choose to leave their property for the night to escape this disturbance because it is so bad.”

A third objector adds: “Not only is the high street a residential area, but it does have a high amount of traffic, which already parks erratically when people get their chips and fish, and the propensity for boy-racers is already high enough to disturb neighbours and myself with a young family. 

“Our local pubs close at 11am, and that is in line with Alfonso’s. The late hours would only make antisocial behaviour worse. 

“Who needs food at 11.30pm on a week night, when most of us are asleep?”

The application will be heard at an open meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s civic government licensing committee this Friday, September 20, at the council’s Newtown headquarters at 10am.