A town centre pub’s controversial planning application to keep its newly built beer garden is to be looked at by Falkirk Council’s planning review committee.
The Orchard Hotel, 2 Kerse Lane, Falkirk, was refused retrospective planning permission last year to keep a beer garden it created in its car park area over lockdown, when businesses were encouraged to operate outdoors.
Planners said that the much expanded beer garden would not “respect the architectural and townscape character of the area”, while they were also worried about the impact any development would have on neighbours.
Throughout the planning process, some neighbours objected to the development, saying the outdoor drinking area was too noisy and parking had become an issue.
However, one neighbour wrote to lend his support to the pub, saying he considered the changes an improvement.
Those objecting were also concerned that the Orchard has submitted several retrospective planning applications, with one saying: “It seems as though The Orchard Hotel prefer to seek forgiveness than ask permission.”
But having spent a lot of time and cash doing up the outdoor drinking area, the Orchard Hotel insisted that the changes were an improvement to the area and it was now more “aesthetically pleasing”.
They also deny that residents are affected by noise coming from the beer garden and say that the situation is well managed.
The original decision to refuse was taken by Falkirk Council’s planning officers under delegated powers.
The appeal means that the application will now be considered by the planning review committee next Tuesday, with elected members making the final decision.