Corn Exchange Granted 10pm Children’s Licence

Wetherspoons in Arbroath has secured a policy-busting night-time extension to allow children in the premises until 10pm.

The Corn Exchange wants to satisfy demand from families eating later meals in the town centre venue.

However, it stressed the move would not turn the busy pub into a “creche”.

Wetherspoons legal representative Archie McIvor told councillors: “The Corn Exchange is a popular and successful venue.

“The reasons for the application are two-fold.

“There have been many requests from members of the public as they have been out for a meal with the family.

“That’s particularly true during the summer months when the premises are even more popular with families given the local caravan parks being populated by holidaymakers.

“The second is really the change of emphasis in the way the premises operate.

“When Wetherspoons first came to Arbroath, they were a pub operation.

“Over the years they have changed quite markedly to become a food-led operation.”

Mr McIvor revealed 55% of the Corn Exchange sales are food.  And he claimed they sold more Pepsi, coffee and tea than lager.

“This isn’t peculiar to Arbroath, it5’s common with a number of Wetherspoons,” he added.  “No longer should it be viewed as an out-and-out public house.”

And he said the chain had been given the extra hour by neighbouring councils in Dundee, Perth and Fife.

Arbroath councillor Brenda Durno broadly supported the idea.

But she added: “The only problem I have is under-5s.  Your customers won’t particularly want to have toddlers toddling about.

“And I don’t particularly like the idea of youngsters being around adults when they are intoxicated.

“I don’t have a problem with the application but I’ll say if I walk in and there’s tons of kids in the bar, I’ll not be staying.”

Mr McIvor replied: “I’m not being flippant – Wetherspoons do not operate a creche.

“They expect parents to look after their children.

“Staff are very vigilant *in terms of observing what children are doing.”

Montrose councillor Kenny Braes said: “We have a policy, it’s there for good reason.

“There is a demand and Arbroath is always hoping to advance its position as a holiday destination.  But that’s not what’s in our policy.”

Forfar councillor Ross Greig moved to refuse the application, but could not find a backer.

“I think it’s acknowledged that in Scotland we have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol,” he said.

“There may be demand from a business point of view.  But from a child protection point of view, is it really the best place for children to be in a pub up to 10 o’clock?”

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