A live music festival will be allowed to sell alcohol until 2am, despite claims from the police that this could result in antisocial behaviour and disturbance to nearby residents.
Scottish Borders Licensing Board voted 5-4 on Friday to grant the extension in respect of Audio Soup, which will take place from July 17-19 at Harehead Farm, just outside Cranshaws near Duns. The event, expected to attract around 1,000 punters, had a 1am extension when it was first held at the site last year.
Joining police in objecting to the 2am extension on both these nights was the board’s licensing standards officer, Ian Tunnah, who believed 1am was “quite adequate”.
However, board members heard a submission on behalf of the organisers from Holly McKnight who stressed the family-friendly nature of the event, which would have 50 stewards on duty over the weekend. She said children would not be allowed into bar areas unless accompanied by an adult and told councillors that an application for a public entertainments licence – allowing live music to be performed until 3am – had been submitted to the board and had attracted no objections.
Three other late drinking extensions, sought by licensed premises hosting events in connection with local festivals, were also approved, despite objections from the police and Mr Tunnah.
The board voted 6-2 to let the Base nightclub in Hawick stay open for an extra hour – from 2 till 3am – for this Saturday’s Denholm rideout, and Hawick Common Riding on June 5 and 6.
Licensee Neil Gillies successfully argued that catering for customers on these nights represented “exceptional circumstances” which would allow the board to depart from its current policy of no terminal hour beyond 2am outside Galashiels.
The dissenting board members were Councillor David Paterson (Hawick), who shared police concerns about noise and antisocial behaviour, and Councillor Gavin Logan (Tweeddale East), who said: “Local festivals which take place every year can hardly be described as exceptional.”
Also granted were applications from the County Hotel in Peebles to open until 1am this Sunday for the conclusion of the Tweedlove cycling festival and from the Border Inn at Kirk Yetholm to serve alcohol until 1am on June 17 for an event organised by Yetholm Festival Committee.