Falkirk Council’s licensing board – meeting virtually for the first time – heard that there had been 50 complaints received about noise from the Falkirk town centre venue over the past five years – but only six or seven of those had been made in 2019.
However, one neighbour told the board that she and other local residents had made repeated complaints over a sustained period of time about the noise coming from the hotel – in particular when the venue had live music and kept the windows open.
“If they can’t control the noise inside the building I don’t understand how they can be expected to control the noise in a residential street,” she told the board.
And she was now worried that the council’s noise team was not able to keep a proper eye on noise levels as budget cuts meant its staff were no longer working at night.
“I’m concerned how the noise is going to be monitored – I’m just not sure how that’s going to work,” she said.
Residents who attended a virtual meeting of the board said they were also concerned about the parking issues they believed would be inevitable while the hotel’s car park was out of action.
However, they were told that parking issues were not relevant to this licence application.
The board heard that the town centre bar and restaurant has built a fence to make the area enclosed and will use a marquee to provide some shelter for guests.
The area is also well covered by CCTV cameras and no objections were received from either Police Scotland or the licensing standards officer.
Managers from the Orchard Hotel said they also had received letters of support from other neighbours and businesses in Falkirk town centre.
The board heard that occasional licences at the moment are subject to special coronavirus legislation which means no loud music can be played at all.
The aim is to ensure that patrons do not have to raise their voices which would increase the risk of virus transmission.
There is also a limit on the number of people from different households who can meet up.
Convener Niall Coleman said he was minded to grant the application with the conditions that all patrons should be seated and that the area was not open at all before 10 am or after 10 pm.
He reminded objectors that the decision did not stop them objecting to future applications or raising any concerns with licensing standards officers.
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