Camelon pub gets go ahead to double size of its beer garden

Members of Falkirk Council’s licensing board have agreed that a Camelon pub can double the size of its beer garden.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 19th August 2021, 12:01 pm

Their approval was a major step forward for The Union Inn – often known as Auntie Katie’s – although planning permission has not yet been granted.

The pub, which sits beside the Forth & Clyde canal, has recently been refurbished and several changes were approved by the board last year.

This application was seeking permission to double the size of the outdoor drinking area in front of the pub, in its former car park.

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Union Inn (Pic: Michael Gillen)

However, members were told that number of customers would not change.

The area is now enclosed by a tall fence and has lots of covered ‘pods’ where people can get some shelter from the elements while eating and drinking.

Solicitor Gordon Emslie, representing the pub, said that the licence holder, Forbes Dewar was “thinking out the box” during the Coronavirus pandemic and responding to the fact that customers prefer to drink outside.

The licensing standards officer, Thomas Ross, said the size of the beer garden and the fact that it is close to houses, could raise concerns but it would depend how it was “managed and maintained.”

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Mr Emslie said no application was currently being made for live music and that the owners were very aware that anything of that kind would need to be introduced very carefully.

He said: “The hospitality sector continues to face huge challenges – Mr Dewar is thinking out the box here.”

He said the changes made the outdoor area “more desirable” and fully secure with fencing and gate, mainly to keep children safe as it is so close to the canal.

Councillor Allyson Black said: “I think we’re finding that all over Scotland people are having to find imaginative ways to run their businesses.

“To me, this is a way of giving customers a good experience while keeping them outdoors and safe.”

The Union Inn, however, still needs to get planning permission for the area.

Mr Emslie said: “It is being treated as a permanent structure even though it is wooden, so we are still going through the planning process.”

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