A BID to offer morning visitors to a seaside B&B Champagne at breakfast has been thrown out after objections from police and health chiefs.

The owners of Signals Bistro, North Berwick, had applied for a drinks licence which would allow them to offer a “glass of bubbly or Bloody Mary” to guests popping in for breakfast who were not staying in their rooms.

However, East Lothian Council's licensing board rejected the application after Police Scotland and NHS Lothian warned it could set a precedent and "open the floodgates” for early-morning alcohol licences.

An NHS representative told the board: “We feel permitting alcohol as a breakfast beverage is not something that is about improving or protecting public health in East Lothian.”

North Berwick is a popular destination for people enjoying golfing holidays in the area or visiting one of its surrounding courses for the day.

Signals has 11 bedrooms for B&B guests, as well as offering breakfast to customers who are not staying there.

Owner Sean McCashey told the board that guests who stayed at the B&B were able to order alcohol with their breakfasts as residents, while those arriving for breakfast could not and there was demand for the service to be extended.

He said: “This request is customer-led.”

Mr McCashey had applied to serve alcohol to visiting customers from 9am, seven days a week, instead of the current 11am start time.

Members of the board were reminded by Police Scotland and NHS Lothian that their alcohol licensing policy was against selling alcohol as early as 9am and that Scottish Government guidelines advised against operational licensing hours being longer than 14 hours in a day.

The extended hours would have seen Signals, on Quality Street, able to serve alcohol from 9am to 1am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with an additional hour at the end of Sunday, taking closing time then to midnight.

On other days, the bistro stops serving alcohol at 11pm.

Police licensing officer Heather Bowsher warned board members that allowing the early start would set a precedent.

She said: “North Berwick is a small town and word would soon get around that Signals has a 9am licence and other applications will come in.

“These early hours in the morning would open the floodgates.

"Police Scotland would not encourage or support people starting to drink at 9am in the morning.”

Councillor Jane Henderson, a local ward member, said she was “uncomfortable” approving a 9am licence.

She said: “I do not think that because it is ‘a nice thing to do’ is a strong enough argument to go against our policy.”

Fellow ward councillor Jim Goodfellow said that he understood the reasons behind the application – pointing to an increase in Airbnb properties, where private residences are rented out by visitors, creating a demand for breakfast from premises like Signals while putting pressure on traditional guesthouses.

He said: “The nature of accommodation in small towns like North Berwick is changing with a lot of it no longer B&Bs but Airbnb and many people staying in these places going out for breakfast, so I can see why there would be a lot of pressure.

“Airbnb can take trade away from the established hotel and B&B trade; however, we have a good policy and we have to stick to it. I may be persuaded in the future but not at this point.”

The board unanimously rejected the bid to open early but did approve a one-hour extension of Signals’ licence to midnight on Sundays.