Stenhousemuir hotel overcomes area’s anti-social issues to get outdoor drinks licence
Stenhousemuir's Plough Hotel has been granted an occasional licence to keep using its outdoor drinking area, despite one neighbour's complaint that swearing, bad language and sectarian singing could be heard from it.
A special meeting of Falkirk Council's licensing board on Wednesday heard from the neighbour, who was also worried that the outdoor area "isn't sensible" in an area that is already a hot-spot for anti-social behaviour.
The objector said that even with the windows shut, the noise from the beer garden could be very loud and that it had been particularly bad on days when football matches were being played, and he could hear sectarian chanting.
However, owner Alexandrina Allison said she "runs a tight ship" and did not accept the complaint was accurate.
She said the hotel, in the centre of town, is in a very busy and noisy area with several takeaways, a taxi office and lots of traffic on the three roads that surround it.
On Saturday, May 15 some customers, who had been having breakfast in the hotel on their way to watch the football in Glasgow, had been a bit "lively" and she had asked them to quieten down.
However, her security cameras showed that there wasn't a crowd in the area that day and there had been no sectarian singing.
She told councillors: "The last thing I want to do is upset any neighbours.
"As for sectarian chants and singing -that's something I would never allow.
"I don't allow them to behave like that inside and I'm certainly not going to allow them to behave like that outside."
The Plough opened the outdoor drinking area in response to the restrictions hospitality businesses have faced because of the pandemic,
Since then it has applied for occasional licences to use the area, but the objection meant that this time the matter had to come to the board.
Members heard that Police Scotland and the council's licensing officers had visited the venue and had not found anything to concern them.
Licensing officers said they had been looking at ways to minimise any potential problems, such as getting CCTV with sound, and Ms Allison was very co-operative.
The neighbour accepted that the problems of anti-social behaviour with young people were not directly linked to the hotel.
But, he said: "I don't feel that putting an outdoor drinking area in the middle of a 'hot-spot' of anti-social behaviour is a sensible thing to do.
"The kids are bad enough without being influenced by people drinking."
Police Scotland admitted that there is problem with anti-social behaviour in the Stenhousemuir area but said none of it has been connected to the hotel.
Sergeant Liam Livingston said the police had monitored the premises and no issues had been identified.
He told councillors that local officers are aware of the anti-social behaviour in the area surrounding the Plough and were planning a focused campaign over the summer months to address it.
The board's convener Niall Coleman said they had established that there is some form of noise issue and suggested closing earlier on Friday and Saturday nights.
However, Councillor Robert Bissett said he felt the licencee was "competent and proactive" and that ongoing dialogue could solve any issues.
The board accepted Mr Bissett's proposal and the licence was granted.