AN HISTORIC pub wants to extend the opening hours of its beer garden so that its “disappointed” customers can enjoy its coastal views for longer.

The Thorntree Inn in Cockenzie has to close its beer garden at 6pm as part of its planning conditions.

However, agents for the pub owners Caledonian Heritable argue that the beer garden, which overlooks the Firth of Forth, has become a popular destination in itself and is unfairly disadvantaged by the fact it has to close at the early time.

And they say the closure has put severe limits on the use of the popular spot in the village by its customers.

The pub is thought to be one of the oldest in East Lothian, opening its doors as Barclays Hotel in 1788.

It opened the beer garden, which runs along the bottom of neighbouring gardens and overlooks the seafront, five years ago.

Applying for a change in the conditions to allow it to stay open until 8pm in the evenings, the agents said: “As drinking habits have changed  and drinking has become more sociable, it is not uncommon for beer gardens to be destinations in their own right.

“This beer garden in question has excellent views across the Forth and affords a relaxed atmosphere for friends and families to enjoy time together.”

They said that the beer garden had run without complaints and listed a number of other beer gardens across East Lothian that are open until 8pm.

They said: “Closing the beer garden at 6pm is having a detrimental effect on the business and is resulting in disappointed customers.

“It seems unreasonable given the lack of complaints and incidents regarding our clients’ beer garden that it should close at 6pm when other beer gardens in East Lothian remain open.”