A Berwickshire music festival will be allowed to sell alcohol until 2am, despite claims from the police that this could result in antisocial behaviour and disturbance to nearby residents.
Scottish Borders Licensing Board voted 5-4 on Friday to grant the extension to the Audio Soup event which will take place from Friday to Sunday, July 17-19, at Harehead Farm, just outside the village of Cranshaws near Duns.
The festival, expected to attract around 1,000 punters, had a 1am extension on Friday and Saturday when it was first held at the site last year.
Joining the police in objecting to the 2am extension on both these nights this summer was the board’s licensing standards officer Ian Tunnah who believed 1am was “quite adequate”.
The board heard a submission on behalf of the organisers from Holly McKnight who stressed the family-friendly nature of the event which would have 50 stewards on duty over the weekend.
She said children would not be allowed into bar areas unless accompanied by an adult and she told councillors that an application for a public entertainments licence - allowing live music to be performed until 3am – had been submitted to the board and had attracted no objections.
The board later voted 6-2 to allow the Base Nightclub in Hawick to stay open for an extra hour - from 2 till 3am – for this Saturday’s Denholm Ride-Out and for Hawick Common Riding on June 5 and 6.
Licensee Neil Gillies successfully argued that catering for customers on these nights represented “exceptional circumstances” which would allow the board to depart from its current policy of no terminal hour beyond 2am outside Galashiels.
The dissenting board members were Councillor David Paterson (Hawick) who shared police concerns about noise and antisocial behaviour and Councillor Gavin Logan (Tweeddale East) who said: “Local festivals which take place every year can hardly be described as exceptional.”
Meanwhile, a report which is expected to recommend cutting the membership of the quasi-judicial licensing board from its current 10 councillors is due to be presented to next month’s meeting of Scottish Borders Council. The review was ordered last October.