Police are objecting to plans to put up a beer tent and gin bar outside a Lauder hotel during the royal burgh’s common riding on Saturday, August 5.
The Lauderdale Hotel’s plea for an occasional licence to provide those facilities for customers between 10am and 10pm will be considered at Friday’s meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s licensing board.
In her application, Moira Ainslie, secretary and director of the Edinburgh Road hotel, explains that the tents would be located in the garden to its rear, and live music would be provided by singer and guitarist Gary Cleghorn.
“This will be a free event for people attending the common riding festivities,” writes Mrs Ainslie.
She says that children, though only in family groups, would have access to the garden for the duration of the occasional licence, if granted.
Her bid has elicited no objections from members of the public or the council’s licensing standards officer, Ian Tunnah. However, Police Scotland are urging councillors to reject the application.
A letter on behalf of Chief Constable Phil Gormley states: “Historically, Lauder has had issues with alcohol-related disorder during its common riding, resulting in a significant commitment of resources into the early hours.
“Any application to increase the amount of alcohol is a concern.
“There is no indication of any stewarding arrangements or how many children and young people will be present.
“The commencement time of 10am is outside licensing board policy.
“The Lauderdale Hotel is already a gathering point and is busy, front and back, throughout the day with people who have clearly been drinking spilling onto the A68 main trunk route.
“There have also been some issues last year with smashed bottles in the town. The concern is that this would increase if there was an external beer tent.”
Noting that the hotel already has two “large halls” for functions, the letter states: “It is the police position that the premises currently has adequate facilities to provide the services detailed in the application without the additional supply of alcohol in the garden.
“For these reasons, Police Scotland objects, in respect of the prevention of crime and disorder, securing public safety, preventing public nuisance and protecting children from harm.”