doc

A BID to allow a petrol station to sell alcohol has stalled.

An application for an alcohol licence on behalf of Dalrymple’s filling station, Dirleton Road, North Berwick, was rejected by members of East Lothian Council’s licensing board.

At the board meeting in Haddington last Thursday, Andrew Hunter, from Harper McLeod LLP, agent for the applicants, said: “The plan is that at the end of the year they will go through a full refurbishment of around £90,000 over 11 days and it will be refitted as a Spar store.

“A space of nine square metres would be allocated for the sale of alcohol.”

No objection was received by North Berwick Community Council, but NHS Lothian raised concerns on the grounds that the filling station was an excluded premises.

That means if a premises is used as a petrol station, it is not able to hold an alcohol licence; but there are exceptions where the community is reliant on the premises as a principal source of either fuel or groceries.

Mr Hunter claimed that people living in Dirleton fell into that category but the letter from NHS Lothian disagreed. It read: “The applicant has provided no evidence that persons resident in the locality in which the premises are situated are, or are likely to become, reliant to a significant extent on the premises as a principal source of petrol or groceries.”

About 140 new houses are being constructed by Miller Homes to the immediate south of the premises.

Licensing board members unanimously rejected the proposal, citing over-provision and a failure to prove they are not an excluded premises.

Councillor Jim Goodfellow, one of two North Berwick Coastal ward councillors on the licensing board, said: “As a regular user of the filling station it is an an excellent facility and I think that the addition of a Spar would be an excellent idea.

“I am not convinced in any way that people would be inconvenienced if they [Dalrymple’s] did not have a licence [to sell alcohol].”

Fellow councillor Jane Henderson said she shared Mr Goodfellow’s belief, while provost John McMillan said the application was “difficult and complex” and he was “not minded” to approve the application.