A HELENSBURGH bar has been granted a licence for its outdoor seating area after a councillor hailed its plans as “an outside drinking area as it should be”.

The Royal Bar also has plans to serve food, with a kitchen area currently being installed at its West Clyde Street premises.

The proposal for the bar, which has recently been taken over by new management, was heard at the Argyll and Bute Licensing Board’s meeting on Tuesday, November 10.

After hearing of the plans, Oban North and Lorn councillor Kieron Green asked the new management: “In terms of the current licence and the description of activities, bar meals are mentioned.

“However, it is not clear from the plans whether there are facilities to prepare these meals in the Royal?”

Manager Jonathan Doherty responded: “Meals are being prepared in Riva, approximately 20 metres away, and are being delivered to the premises.

“We are currently closed due to putting in a small kitchen for soup and sandwiches in view of current legislation.

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“We will have many other items, like pizzas, that can be delivered, but paninis, sandwiches and soups will be made up on site.”

Argyll and Bute is currently under tier 2 of the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 guidelines, meaning that alcohol can only be served with a meal.

Environmental health officer Mary Watt said she would be in touch with the bar regarding the new kitchen area, which had just come to her attention.

Helensburgh and Lomond South councillor David Kinniburgh, the committee’s chair, then asked: “I am aware there is a bit of street furniture right next to the premises in the form of a lamp-post.

“Looking at the plan, it would appear you have Covid guidelines for queuing etc in place, which ask for a two-metre gap.

“That lamp-post would appear to create an obstruction. Can I ask Ms Watt’s opinion, as I am not sure it can accommodate two metres?”

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Ms Watt replied: “The guidance you refer to is in relation to queuing, and I do not anticipate people queuing outside the Royal. I don’t think the lamppost will restrict movement.”

South Kintyre councillor Rory Colville then said: “I would have concerns if, whenever we pass through this pandemic, people would be confined within 12-20 people standing outside being merry.

“Would there be any objections to this being used as an outdoor seating area, and not as a vertical drinking area?”

Mr Doherty responded: “We are actually looking at putting in a smoking area at the back. I think it looks terrible to have a bunch of people at the front smoking, so we are looking at putting that area outside the rear door.”

In summing up the board’s decision, Councillor Kinniburgh said: “My personal opinion is that what we have is an outside drinking area as it should be.

“I think it is a perfect example for that practice to take place.

“I have no hesitation in granting this today. Obviously Ms Watt will be in touch regarding the kitchen area and what is provided there, and we will need an updated plan.”

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