Permission for a pavement cafe at a popular Perth Road pub has been granted by Dundee City Council.
Well-known local businessman Jimmy Marr will open the outdoor seating area on May 17 when the pub itself reopens, with indoor Covid-19 restrictions being lifted by the Scottish Government on that date.
Under the current route out of lockdown guidelines, it is hoped from April 26 hospitality venues such as restaurants or pubs can open until 8pm indoors with no alcohol and 10pm outdoors with alcohol.
From May 17, pubs are set to open indoors until 10.30pm.
Police Scotland have ordered that a risk assessment take place at the Tay Bridge Bar, after concerns about the safety of the public.
When discussed at an online licensing board meeting, it was noted that the seating will extend into a loading bay on Perth Road itself.
A landlord of a flat above the bar objected on behalf of her tenant, citing noise and general concerns about her safety.
The meeting was told that in November there was a similar application. However, the second lockdown then began and the licence wasn’t able to be operated.
Mr Marr said a meeting had been held at the site with Police Scotland and certain details had been agreed.
He said once the seating area was set up, management would invite Police Scotland to visit the site and see it before it was opened for public use.
PC Kerry Thomson-Craig from Police Scotland explained that part of the pavement cafe would be on the kerbside, in a loading bay on the road, and as such there was a “significant risk” to people using it, so certain measures would be insisted on by the police.
She noted that Perth Road is “a busy arterial route through the west end of Dundee, and carries a high volume of pedestrians and cars”.
“To facilitate a licensed area on the roadway presents a significant risk to the public, in terms of road safety,” she said.
“The applicant has advised that the bespoke seating structure is to be built to fit within the space, and along with the required safety barriers, should fit within the 1.8 metre width of the bay.
“A parking space for delivery and/or cash and transit vehicles making deliveries to the Post Office has also been accommodated in the plans.”
She said with these facts in mind, it was recommended the application be granted subject to conditions, including that a “robust risk assessment” be carried out.
The temporary seating area must be clearly separated and protected from both pedestrians and traffic, maintaining a clear passageway along the footpath for pedestrians and wheelchair users, she said.
It was also insisted that protective barriers be in place to separate the seating on the road from traffic, and the barriers must be approved by the council’s roads and transport network management team.
Any seating on the road will also be required to be surrounded by clearly marked, protective barriers that are visible to all road users at all times, day and night. They must be joined together and must not protrude onto the road.
They must also be tamper-proof and capable of withstanding high winds and a vehicular collision, Ms Thomson-Craig said.
A 6.6 metre parking space will also be reserved within the loading bay, directly opposite the post office, to allow vehicle access.
A landlord of a flat near the pub told the meeting that with the pub having an outside area, and her tenant’s living room and bedroom being at the front of the property, she “probably wouldn’t be able to open her windows due to noise”.
She said: “She’s a woman on her own who works shifts, so there would maybe be drunk people, people urinating at her door, which we’ve had before. My tenant just generally feels unsafe.
“I understand the hospitality industry has taken a massive hit.”
Mr Marr said there had been a smaller pavement cafe at the bar for the last five years.
“We’ve always had three or four tables and we’ve never had any problems with it,” he said.
“The average age group of the people who go to the Tay Bridge Bar are between 40 and 60 years old. We don’t attract the younger person.
“Perth Road is a very busy place so a lot of the noise could be coming not necessarily from the Tay Bridge Bar.
“Within 50 metres of the Tay Bridge Bar I would think there are approximately 100 flats, and right above the Tay Bridge Bar there’s probably 20 flats.”
He added: “Our intention isn’t to create noise. I think we’ve policed the premises as best we can. We do try to work hard with the neighbours and I do sympathise with the lady up the stairs if she’s a shift worker. But a lot of that could be the noise of the Perth Road area, not just the Tay Bridge Bar.
“Most of our business, Monday to Thursday, is done during the day. By 9pm or 10pm, you’ll be lucky if there’s a handful of people in the Tay Bridge Bar.”
Mr Marr said weekends were different, with many people frequenting Perth Road, often on pub crawls from the top of the street into the town centre.
‘Proud of pub’s reputation’
A council representative noted that with any licence granted during the Covid-19 pandemic, the licence holder had to ensure there was no noise from the pavement of the premises.
Mr Marr, who has owned the bar for 15 years and was said he was “proud of the pub’s reputation”, said he was happy to meet with Ms McNeil and her tenant in person to discuss any way he could help them with their concerns. A council officer will also attend, the meeting was told.
Ms McNeil said she was happy to meet to see exactly what was being put in place at the site.
Meeting chairman Stewart Hunter moved for permission for two-week occasional licences beginning on April 26, until October 24, which were granted.