Planning approval for new town centre Kirrie pub despite fears of ‘overprovision’

© Google Maps
The former Buddies nightclub was on the upper floor of the building on the left.

The former Buddies nightclub in Kirriemuir is to be given a new lease of life as a public bar.

Despite fears from fellow town publicans that it could result in an “overprovision of public bars” in the town centre, councillors granted approval for the transformation of the first floor property in St Malcolm’s Wynd, which adjoins the Category B listed Airlie Arms Hotel.

It dates from around the late 18th century and early 19th century and sits above an Indian restaurant.

Tuesday’s meeting in Forfar heard the building is in the town’s conservation area in a mixed use area near other licensed premises including the Airlie Arms Hotel, The Roods Bar and Amigos Bar.

The applicant has indicated there would be no external alteration to the appearance of the building other than a ‘good clean’ and possible touch-up of paint and making good any defects.

The proposed opening hours are Monday to Thursday, 11am to 12am, Friday and Saturday 11am to 1am and Sunday 12pm to 12am.

Five letters were received including those from representatives of the Thrums Hotel, the Gairie Inn and the Airlie Arms Hotel.

Dilys Robertson of the latter warned a new public house would represent “a severe overprovision of licensed premises.”

She added: “Local pubs are struggling for business already. Another public house will not attract new customers but will take custom from other struggling businesses.”

Dave Clark of the Thrums Hotel also objected on the grounds the Ogilvy Bar, Roods  Bar and Airlie Arms currently operate in the area.

“As a result the proposed bar would result in an overprovision of public bars within this small section of the town centre leading to an unacceptable impact on the amenity of the town centre and to the surrounding local residents.”

Members of the committee were told the building sits behind the little Roods in St Malcolm’s Wynd and, according to the local development plan, this type of use in the location is appropriate.

Members also considered a report by Stewart Ball, head of housing, regulatory and protective services, which found it was not the purpose of the planning system to restrict commercial competition.

“The council’s planning policies generally seek to direct new commercial leisure businesses to town centre locations in order to protect vitality, viability and vibrancy.

“The existing use of premises is a nightclub which could have operated during similar hours to the pub resulting in very similar impacts on existing business within the town.

“The local development plan indicates Angus Council will apply a town centre first policy to support the primacy of the town centre as the most appropriate location for a mix of uses including retail, leisure, offices, community and cultural facilities.”

Members approved the application.