Bathgate Golf Club's outdoor music plan strikes a chord with council officials
Bathgate Golf Club has become the first venue in West Lothian to agree to new rules on outdoor music as it won permission to develop its beer garden to provide more space for customers.
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With the number of outdoor commercial social spaces at clubs and pubs growing rapidly in the wake of the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic, council officials have moved to prevent the ‘signifiant problem’ of noise complaints by banning outdoor music.
The golf club became the first venue to agree to the restriction as it also won permission from West Lothian Licensing Board to extend its Thursday hours from midnight to 1am.
An agent for the club, lawyer Jordan Valentine, said the club had expanded its food and restaurant offering and enlarged outdoor seating areas both front and rear of the clubhouse would allow customers to take advantage of good weather and more space.
Brian Carmichael from the council’s Environmental Health team urged the Board to impose a condition banning the playing of amplified music in outdoor seating areas.
He said the condition did not specifically apply only to the golf club but added that noise from music in beer gardens had been identified as an issue during the pandemic.
“It was becoming a significant problem so we took the view that the playing of amplified music outdoors was something that should be conditioned in future to control it.”
He added: “It was a unique situation that has developed over the pandemic. This is the first license that has come up that we have been consulted on and we took a view to request the board to avoid external amplified music on beer gardens.”
The clubhouse is at least a quarter of a mile from the nearest property. Club secretary Gerry Flanagan said the club was happy to comply with the condition, adding that the last thing the club wanted was noise drifting across the course.
“You know what golfers are like about being disturbed by noise,” he added.
He stressed that the full outside area requested for use would be used rarely, on three or four occasions at most during the season, when large pro-am tournaments were held. The application has been prompted by a decision to afford customers more space.