‘Pergola’ pub owner should consult with neighbours

The West Port Hotel 'pergola' was taken down last year

A long-running stooshie over a St Andrews pub’s beer garden could be quelled if the owner asked neighbours for input, it has been suggested.

There was furore over the erection of the West Port Hotel’s covered outdoor seating area after the 54ft long structure was granted planning permission in a residential area under the description of a pergola.

The South Street pub was ordered to tear down the retractable roof after a complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman against Fife Council’s handling of the application.

Its new owner Signature Pubs now wants to create an even larger outdoor dining area, described by one neighbour as “tantamount to an assault” on residential amenity.

However, a former councillor who played a leading role in winning the order to have the roof pulled down reckons a solution could be found.

Dorothea Morrison said: “I have sympathy with the owners wanting to do something, but it has to be something that fits in with this being a residential area.”

The proposed development would be at a different side of the garden from the ‘pergola’ bringing it closer to two blocks of flats and several houses.

It would involve creation of a covered outdoor dining area capable to seating up to 152 people, far more than the 32 currently permitted in the beer garden.

Two different schemes have been proposed, one also involving 15 timber seating booths and two parasol canopies and employing sound-proofing material.

Mrs Morrison said there had been little interaction by Signature Pubs with neighbours.

She said: “If they work with the neighbours I think they will be able to find something that will suit everyone.

“People don’t want to harm the hotel, they want to have something suitable for a conservation area of the town, somewhere where people can sit without destroying the peace and tranquillity of the area.”

Signature Pubs has appealed to the Scottish Government for planning consent, claiming Fife Council failed to determine its planning applications for both of the schemes on time.

The council’s north east planning committee has agreed to recommend the government dismisses the appeals on grounds including noise and odour impact and a lack of information to allow a comprehensive assessment.