Falkirk’s Orchard Hotel has said that refusing planning permission for a beer garden that is already in place is likely to have “a devastating impact” on the business.
The town centre hotel said that the new beer garden – on the site of its car park – is “a direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic and all the restrictions imposed on hospitality”.
While businesses in the town were encouraged to create temporary outdoor areas to help during restrictions, the Orchard’s outdoor space was completely revamped over several months.
The scale of the changes meant that planning permission was needed.
Now that final permission is being sought, the application states: “Should the proposal not be consented, we anticipate that this will likely have a devastating impact on our business and in turn would adversely impact on the current and future employment opportunities.”
Owner Stuart Crawford and his team have told planners that temporary use “would have no significant benefit to the business and does not justify the expense to date”.
The beer garden is a fenced off area behind the property, with a range of seating and tables and limited shelters for inclement weather.
The application says that inspiration for the design has been taken from other examples of beer gardens, “particularly those found in Shoreditch, an area of London, which has become synonymous with regeneration and cutting-edge design”.
Not everyone is happy with the arrangements, however.
When applying for an occasional licence before opening, there were several objections by neighbours who said the hotel had previously caused a lot of noise.
They also complained that parking is difficult enough on the street without losing more spaces to the new outdoor drinking area.
This new application states: “A robust management regime is in place to ensure the smooth operation of the business.
“Staff members inspect the beer garden regularly and hours are limited to 10am-10pm. This approach minimises any impact in terms of noise.
“We believe the beer garden operates without any significant impact on adjacent or nearby houses.”
The Orchard is in a B-listed building but the application states that the impact of the work is on the back of the property so will not affect its appearance.
By local democracy reporter Kirsty Paterson