Bosses of Papa Jacques, in Brook Street, were seeking to form the beer garden at the back of the pub and restaurant, which would have involved a small extension of the area.
In total 25 letters of objection were received, including one from Broughty Ferry Community Council.
A spokesperson for the pub said today they were “disappointed but not surprised” at the ruling, and questioned why the community council and councillor Craig Duncan had not contacted them prior to the meeting to discuss the plans.
Susan Brown, who owns an adjacent flat in Brook Street said: “I accept that in the current climate that the business concerned is seeking a way to keep their business afloat and find subsequent alternative methods of income, by having customers on-site in a safe environment.
“I also note that the fact that they’ve cited that light pollution will be mitigated by way of its positioning towards the garden area and also that the hours of operation are to be restricted.”
Mrs Brown said despite this, there are adjacent flats including the one she and her husband own, and said there would be noise pollution and “disturbance” during the evening and weekends.
‘Noisy and over-exuberant’
She continued: “My experience is that people who are drunk or impaired with alcohol are often rowdy, noisy and over-exuberant, and generally I have no issue with this. But, the fact remains that we’ve been in lockdown for in excess of 12 months, and I think it’s fair to accept that people will be taking full advantage of the fact that they will be allowed out with other people to socialise.”
Mrs Brown said there was already a “noise nuisance” created from the pub’s Brook Street entrance, and having a beer garden to the rear “was going to add to the level of disturbance”.
She said: “I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to ask that at weekends and evenings, when most people don’t work, that they’re afforded peace and quiet in their own home and surroundings.
“Similarly, I don’t think it’s unreasonable that people who work shifts, which my work sometimes requires, be afforded the ability to be able to sleep through daytime hours.
“I genuinely fear that a beer garden will significantly reduce that ability to enjoy peace and quiet, and rest.”
‘High likelihood of anti-social behaviour’
Mrs Brown said with the country coming out of lockdown, people would be “taking advantage” of being able to meet outdoors and as such the garden would be busy, people would not be quiet, and “absolutely would be drunk”.
She said a rear bedroom in her house would be “directly affected” by the noise of the garden.
She also said she felt there would be a “high likelihood” of antisocial behaviour if it was approved.
Prospective property buyers
“As a prospective buyer, I absolutely would not consider buying property closely located to a beer garden,” she said.
Fellow objector Linda Whetren, who also lives next to the proposed garden site, said: “Once lockdown restrictions come down I do feel there will be an excess of people visiting beer gardens.
“There is mention of noise being minimised but I’ve been here over 17 years and there has been increasing noise from that site. We have seen antisocial behaviour, this will only get worse with a beer garden in the back.”
She said she worked shifts and would not be able to enjoy the quietness on her days off.
‘Invasion of privacy’
“With increased alcohol, you have increased noise, increased mixing – social distancing will be difficult. We’re still in the Covid-19 situation.”
Ms Whetren said other pubs in Broughty Ferry are “in the same predicament” and didn’t have the chance to build beer gardens, and consideration should be made for the houses that are adjacent to the site, as people would be able to look in their windows, invading their privacy.
Another neighbour, who too lives adjacent to the site, said: “We wish to make it abundantly clear that the many residents who have objected do not regard this proposal as either a useful or pleasant facility in their back yard.”
Discussing restricted opening hours, she said the council should “err on the side of caution” and refuse the application on the basis it would disrupt neighbouring houses.
‘Covid-19 threat no longer valid’
She added that Scottish Government advice was that hospitality businesses would be able to operate on “near normal levels” within the next three months, and as such, two-year planning permission was inappropriate on the grounds it was supporting the pub out of the coronavirus lockdown.
She said the “Covid threat” could no longer be used to “sway the committee” into granting approval, adding: “We, the common people, urge you to refuse the application.”
‘Important community hub’
Speaking in support, Neil Gray, a planning consultant on behalf of the applicants, John Frullani Architects, said the pub had been a “permanent fixture” in the town for 25 years, and the applicant had operated a small beer garden for five years. He noted no objections had been made which mentioned these facts.
He said the pub provided “an important community hub, to spend leisure time and socialise, and provides a popular venue for nearby residents of the Ferry, spanning a whole range of generations, not just the under 30s that were referred to earlier” – including pensioner and young parents.
Mr Gray said the garden would be a key investment in the Ferry’s economic recovery after the pandemic.
He said the pandemic had severely restricted the pub’s opening and could currently work at a third of capacity, with a beer garden allowing them to recover some of the loss they are making.
Jobs at ‘severe risk’
The business employs around 30 staff, he said, and that they will be under “severe risk” once the furlough scheme was lifted.
Mr Gray said the owners wanted to spend more, on a high-quality design and environment, and said the “unsightly litter” referred to in the back yard of the site would be removed and replaced with the design of the garden.
He said that the proposals would not have any adverse effect on the surrounding area.
“It is also worth noting there are other hospitality businesses in the Ferry which have been suitably supported in the last two years,” he added.
Councillor Craig Duncan said he was “puzzled” why a period of two years had been suggested to trial the garden, saying he wondered if that could be reduced, and suggested for six months.
‘Detrimental impact on residents’
He said he “would have been happier” if a six month trial had been agreed, and as such was minded to move for refusal of the application, due to the “detrimental impact” it would have on residents next to the site.
Gregor Hamilton, head of planning and economic development for Dundee City Council, said the owners planned to make an investment in terms of the seating area, and the two years suggested was not permanent enough.
He added that the last 14 months had been “difficult” for the hospitality sector, and although restrictions were lifting, there would still likely be limits to the number of people allowed inside licensed premises, so the council was trying to be “flexible” in supporting outside seating at pubs.
He said this would allow hospitality businesses to trade in what are “unprecedented times”, and the two-year period would allow the council to decide if it would be suitable to make the beer garden a permanent fixture, or indeed to refuse further permission.
Refusal of application
Councillor Craig Duncan said he “could see where everybody is coming from” but added: “Two years just seems to me to be far too an excessive an amount of time for residents to discover if it’s going to be acceptable or not.”
He moved for an amendment that proposed refusal of the application, and was seconded by fellow Lib Dem councillor Fraser Macpherson.
The amendment was carried by 17 votes to seven, and the application was refused.
A spokesperson for Papa Jacques said they were disappointed the community council and Craig Duncan had not contacted them prior to the council meeting.
They said: “We won’t be making any comment on the decision itself.
“However, we’re very disappointed that both Broughty Ferry Community Council, and the local councillor for Broughty Ferry were both strongly opposed to the proposals, without even having the courtesy to ask us about the plans.
“As a Broughty Ferry business, employing local Broughty Ferry people, and providing a service that brings people to Broughty Ferry, I think it’s the least they could have done, before making a decision either way.
‘Disappointed but not surprised’
“In my personal opinion, it should be about what’s good for Broughty Ferry and the community as a whole, and not about the people on the community council and their personal opinions.
“We weren’t surprised by the decision, disappointed, but not surprised. The decision was made, we’ll move on and see what we do next.
“The important thing for us now, is to look after the staff, try and put their minds at rest as there is obviously lots of uncertainty, and we’ll get ready to welcome back our fantastic customers who have been brilliant throughout lockdown, and we look forward to seeing them from next week.”