A Renfrewshire pub has been refused permission to open a beer garden following fierce opposition from residents who branded the application “abhorrent” and “horrific”.
Bosses at The Northern Way in Causeyside Street, Paisley, were hoping to secure a licence for an outdoor drinking area at the back of the building.
However, a group of residents living in flats in Forbes Place – which surrounds the rear of the pub – argued it would be “dangerously close” to their back garden where kids play.
After a lengthy debate at a meeting of the Renfrewshire Licensing Board, councillors opted to reject the application based on the “unsuitability of the premises for the sale of alcohol”.
Objectors feared children would overhear conversations involving bad language while others claimed cigarette butts would be thrown over the wall by drinkers.
Paul Wycherley, who lives in a third-floor flat in Forbes Place, said he would be able to see everything going on in the beer garden and insisted the plan was “idiotic”.
He told the board: “Our garden is a foot-length from where their beer garden would be.
“It is a horrific idea to stick a beer garden in a residential area so close to families and children.
“I struggle with rest and sleep and I do not want my health to deteriorate anymore because of some idiotic plan to stick a beer garden where there’s no sun right next to families’ homes.
“People in this block of flats have lived here for decades. Why would you expect the people of Paisley to accept this?”
Fellow Forbes Place resident Pamela Howey said she was concerned about the health and safety of her grandchildren and how the beer garden might disturb her home-working.
She said: “My grandchildren play in the garden.
“It’s a great space and it’s peaceful. This would not be the case if this beer garden went ahead.
“I work from home and I’m constantly on Zoom calls.
“It would be an abhorrent idea to have this health and safety nightmare go ahead. The Northern Way cannot control swearing or butts going over the wall.”
Another Forbes Place resident, Barry Wilson, added: “We don’t want beer garden conversation so close to the house garden.”
Solicitor Stephen McGowan, acting on the behalf of licensees Melli Limited, argued the residents’ claims were “speculation” and tried to convince the board the area would be well-run with CCTV and a constant staff presence.
Chief inspector Rebecca Gregson said police had no objection to the application and only requested the beer garden be closed at 9pm.
But elected members unanimously backed a refusal motion from convener Andy Steel, who said the back area was “not well-managed” when he went out on a site visit.
Mr McGowan, of law firm TLT, said: “Notwithstanding some of the passion which has been presented by some of the residents, what they’re saying is speculation.
“It requires you [the board] to assume my clients have no intention of managing this area correctly. It’s unwarranted inference.
“Speculation is not a legal ground on which to refuse a licence application.
“The pub is very well run. That is true for the inside and it will also be true for the outside.
“There would be CCTV and a constant staff presence. This is not a pub that troubles the police.”
Councillor Steel added: “When we were on the site visit, we went out the back and there were cans and empty cleaning fluid containers lying about. The area was not well managed.”
By local democracy reporter Steph Brawn