A FOUR-STAR hotel near Helensburgh has been given the go-ahead to extend the scope of its alcohol licence.

The owners of the Rosslea Hall Hotel in Rhu were given permission to serve alcohol on its patio and lawn area at a meeting of the Argyll and Bute licensing board on Tuesday.

The decision came despite the receipt of two objections, followed by a third shortly before the meeting, from nearby residents – including one from Rhu and Shandon Community Council.

These included concerns over potential noise and the use of fireworks, but Argyll and Bute Council licensing standards officer Raymond Park assured the board that no such issues were likely.

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Lynn Graham, the hotel’s general manager, told the board: “We occasionally use the patio to have lunches and afternoon teas, and occasionally we have wedding guests on the patio.

“We believed it was part of our licence, however it is not and we feel it is necessary.

“It would only be for the months from May to September – it is not used in winter.

“It is not used late at night either as it is not illuminated.”

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In a written objection from the community council, the body’s vice-convener, Andrew Nicholson, vice-convener of the community council, said in his objection to the board: “A number of local residents have made representation to the Community Council about certain aspects of this particular application.”

“There are three main causes for ‘alarm’ – the first being that of serving alcohol on the patio and garden.

“Secondly, the extended hours of functions. And finally, there seems to be an absolute horror at the capacity of 707 persons, and the question has arisen as to how this figure has been arrived at.

“I trust that these concerns will be addressed and taken note of when deliberating on the application and whether or not it should be approved.”

Mr Park then said: “There is huge mention of the activities within the objections, however none of these appear to be relevant, given these are already granted.

“The problem we have with the plan is that it does not identify what is new and what is already granted.

“I had a number of representations from neighbours including one across the fence from the garden area.

“She was concerned about noise but I reassured her there would be none after 10pm.

“The community council’s main objections were based around car parking and other areas. The capacity of 707 was already there in the first place.”

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None of the three objecting parties were present at the meeting.

When questioned by South Kintyre councillor Rory Colville on how the hotel would ensure that people remained on the patio and lawn area, Ms Graham said: “Our gardens are very private and our average use of the patio is for 16 people.

“They would be seated while having lunch.

“For a wedding it is isolated purely to that area. They use the function suite, patio and lawn. We have staff present on duty and I am present for every wedding.

“Staff are also out with trays collecting glasses and it is a private garden area – there is nowhere else to go.”

Ms Graham also said that the hotel had had no noise complaints, with the patio doors kept open from time to time but always monitored.

Helensburgh and Lomond South councillor Richard Trail asked about the concerns over fireworks and whether these are still used at the hotel.

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Ms Graham said: “We don’t – we used to, but we met with Mr Park, Police Scotland and environmental health and have removed fireworks from all wedding packages.

“That has been the case for the last 18 months to two years.

“The only special occasion is Hogmanay but other than that we don’t use fireworks.”

The board’s chairman, Helensburgh councillor David Kinniburgh said: “Our normal board policy is that during summer, the hours are 10pm for adults and 8pm for children and young people.

“I would move that these hours are agreed for the outdoor area with the exception of November 1 to March 1, when the lawn area is not used.

"I would move that the application is granted on that basis.”

Cllr Kinniburgh’s motion was approved by the board without a vote.

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