One of Falkirk’s longest established and most popular venues has been given the go-ahead to provide even more access to children.
The youth market was up for grabs when family friendly Behind the Wall applied to Falkirk Council’s licensing board to vary its premises licence so it could allow customers as young as 11 to enter the Melville Street location unaccompanied by adults to enjoy a meal from 9am to 8pm.
There was also a proposal to allow unaccompanied youngsters aged 12 to 17 to attend live music nights.
It was stated local premises like Nando’s and Frankie & Benny’s were currently able to serve unaccompanied youngsters.
BTW director Brian Flynn was present at the board yesterday (Wednesday) to hear members voice concerns over the proposed changes.
Licensing board convener Malcolm Nicol declared an interest in the application – his daughter works at BTW – so vice convener Allyson Black took over.
She said: “I do have some concerns. Frankie & Benny’s is different from Behind the Wall – later at night it is an adult bar environment. Youngsters could be quite vulnerable at that time of night.
“You’re going to have very young children in a very adult environment.”
Councillor John McLuckie said: “Behind the Wall is comparing itself to Nando’s, but that doesn’t stay open to 3am.”
Members heard Behind the Wall would operate a wristband system on live music nights, where youngsters wearing them would be directed to an app behind the bar that could call up a taxi to safely take them home.
After a short adjournment to consider the application, the board made some amendments to the proposals.
Councillor Black said: “This is obviously a new concept and it’s an experiment. If we say yes to this it will open the door for others to put forward similar applications.”
The board raised the age limit and agreed to make some sections of the application a test case of sorts, granting a seasonal variation – a kind of trial period – until September to allow youngsters age 13 to 17 unaccompanied access to the conservatory and outdoors area for meals from 9am until 8pm.
The band nights proposal was also agreed, but only for 16 and 17-year-olds, who must be out of the premises by midnight.